Skip to main content

Full text of "Jo's boys,: a comedy in three acts"

See other formats



JLouisa J I lay %Alcotts 

gos © 




(% (iift of 

Alma Johnson Sarrett 



t pop- 
• pub- 


5 M. 8 W. 1 Set. 
Books, 75 Cents. 

A gay, fast-paced 
farce-comedy. Tops in 

Royalty on request. 


Evanston, Illinois 



Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2012 with funding from 

LYRASIS Members and Sloan Foundation 


5 -g 

"J2 W 



Adapted from Louisa May Alcott's story of the same title, by special 
arrangement with the trustees of the Alcott estate 

Alma Johnson 

Department of Speech 
Florida Southern College 


CAUTION: Amateurs are hereby warned that "Jo's Boys" is fully pro- 
tected under the copyright laws of the United States of America, 
and including all countries of the Copyright Union. This play is 
subject to royalty, and anyone presenting the play without the con- 
sent of the publishers will be liable to the penalties of the law 
provided. Do not make any arrangements for the presentation of 
this play without first securing permission and terms in writing from 
the publishers. 

by hand or by any process, is an infringement of the copyright. 
The copying, or duplication of this work or any part of this work, 
and will be prosecuted. 




All Rights Reserved 

Copyright, 1940, by 

Row, Peterson and Company 


Especial notice should be taken that the possession of this 
book, without a valid contract for production first having 
been obtained from the publishers, confers no right or license 
to professionals or amateurs to produce the play publicly or 
in private for gain or charity. 

In its present form this play is dedicated to the reading 
public only, and no performance, representation, production, 
recitation, public reading, or radio broadcasting may be given 
except by special arrangement with Row, Peterson and Com- 
pany, at 1911 Ridge Avenue, Evanston, Illinois, or at 131 E. 
23rd Street, New York City. 

On application to Row, Peterson and Company, at either 
of the addresses listed in the paragraph above, royalty will 
be quoted for use of the play by amateurs. 

Whenever the play is produced, the following notice must 
appear on all programs, printing, and advertising for the 
play: "Produced by special arrangement with Row, Peterson 
and Company, Evanston and New York." 

Attention is called to the penalty provided by law for any 
infringement of the author's rights, as follows : 

"Section 4966 : — Any person publicly performing or repre- 
senting any dramatic or musical composition for which copy- 
right has been obtained, without the consent of the proprietor 
of said dramatic or musical composition, or his heirs or as- 
signs, shall be liable for damages thereof, such damages in 
all cases to be assessed at such sum, not less than one hun- 
dred dollars for the first and fifty dollars for every subse- 
quent performance, as to the court shall appear to be just. 
If the unlawful performance and representation be willful 
and for profit, such person or persons shall be guilty of a 
misdemeanor, and upon conviction shall be imprisoned for a 
period not exceeding one vear." — U. S. Revised Statutes : 
Title 60. Chap. 3. 

Seventy-five Cents per Copy, Postpaid 

Printed in the United States of America 



Foreword 5 

The Plot in Brief 6 

Characters 7 

Act I 9 

Act II, Scene 1 36 

Act II, Scene 2 62 

Act III 77 


Setting i 

Costumes ii 

Characterization ii 

Hand Properties iv 


V177"HAT happened to them afterward? How did they turn 

VV out? Did they all live happily ever after? 

It was in answer to a barrage of such questions from her readers 
that Miss Alcott wrote Jo's Boys, the book upon which this play is 
based. For to thousands, young and old, the "Little Women" had be- 
come real persons: Jo, the tomboy who had finally settled down at 
Plumfield, with Professor Bhaer as her helpmeet, to run a school for 
homeless boys and girls; Meg, who had established her own small 
kingdom with John Brooke as her Prince Consort, and the twins, 
Daisy and Demi, and little Josie as loyal subjects; gentle Beth, whose 
death brought the one great sorrow to the March family; and ele- 
gant Amy, who found both love and riches in marrying Laurie, the 
boy next door. 

The years have brought changes when our story begins. The 
school at Plumfield has become a college, with Professor Bhaer as 
the president. Jo has achieved considerable fame with her "scrib- 
bling," as she chose to call it. Meg has been left a widow, and her 
Daisy is abroad with the young violinist she married. The girls' 
beloved "Marmee" and their father have gone on to join little Beth. 

Although Jo's proteges are scattered about the world, we meet 
some of them back at Plumfield: Nan, who is studying medicine at 
the college; Emil, the sailor, home on leave; and Dan, whose wan- 
derings bring him sometimes to this the only home he has ever 
known. Then there are also Teddy, the son of Jo and the Professor; 
Demi, Meg's son, and her youngest daughter, Josie; and Bess, the 
"Princess," the daughter of Amy and Laurie. 

It is at Plumfield that we renew our acquaintance with the "Little 
Women" and their loved ones, at Plumfield that we find out "what 
happened to them afterward." 

— Alma Johnson. 

The Plot in Brief 

THOSE who have come to know the "Little Women" — and who has not? — could 
hardly forget those irresistible sisters — Meg, the volatile Jo, and Amy with her 
elegant airs. 

Picture them now, some twenty years later, as they are gathered together in Jo's 
living room at Plumfield. Jo has inherited Plumfield from Aunt March, and now has 
her share of contentment in the small fame she has earned with her "scribblings," 
as she calls them, a loving husband and son, Teddy, besides all the other boys and 
girls she has in a sense adopted almost as her own during the years she and Professor 
Bhaer have had their school at Plumfield. It is to Plumfield they all return for sym- 
pathy and understanding and to share their secrets. 

There is Josie, Meg's younger daughter, who cherishes a desire to be a great 
actress. Hardly has the play begun when Josie bursts in in hot pursuit of Teddy, who 
has stolen her book. Teddy takes great delight in taunting and mimicking Josie 
in her Thespian efforts at Shakespeare; and though Josie takes her acting oh, so seri- 
ously, she cannot help but laugh in appreciation of Teddy's amusing antics, as do all 
the rest. 

There is Nan, who is studying to become a doctor. She is thoroughly in favor of 
the right of independence for women. On the other hand, Demi, Meg's son and a jour- 
nalist, believes that the place for a pretty girl is in the home, and he wants it to be 
his home for Nan. Persistent though he is at devising ways and means to gain her at- 
tention, Nan will not be romantic. Once, with Josie's help, Demi almost wins Nan's 
heart, but Nan regrets it all too soon, and it remains for Jo to suggest the way of setting 
them both on the right track again. 

Then there is Emil, an orphaned nephew of Professor Bhaer, who has chosen the 
life of a sailor. When he arrives home on leave, it is like a breath of salt sea air. He 
comes, laden with gifts for everyone, and all gather around to welcome him with sin- 
cere joy and affection. Josie, his "little cockboat," as he has always called her, is 
suddenly smitten with a combination of shyness and woman's wiles, and Emil is sur- 
prised to find that, in his absence, she has grown up. 

They are all about to gather around the piano to express their joy at having Emil 
back with them again for a while, when they receive news that Dan, another of Jo's 
boys, has been injured in a mine accident. Laurie is dispatched at once to bring Dan 
back to Plumfield. 

To Dan, rough in his ways and a pioneer at heart, Amy's daughter, Bess, becomes 
a sort of shining star — something toward which he will always reach up, but never 
touch. Even Bess does not know Dan's feeling for her, though Jo does; and it is with 
her understanding of what is right for all of them that Jo sends Dan on his way with 
only a dream to cherish, leaving Bess to her music and art and the life for which 
she is best suited. 

In the meantime, Josie, who has counted so much on the opinion of Miss Cameron, 
a famous actress, to start her career in the theatre, is told by Miss Cameron that she 
had better learn to keep house. Then, at last, Emil and Josie cease to talk at cross 
purposes, and find their own happiness in each other. 

And so it is that Jo, with all her tasks of making a home for her husband and son, 
finding time to write, and enjoying the consequent fame — which to a great extent re- 
solves itself into artists sketching on her lawn and memento-seekers knocking at her 
door — Jo still finds time to watch over the careers and hearts of her young people; 
and it is with a sense of satisfaction that we see them started on the paths of their 
own individual destinies, and we hear Jo express her contentment with the final words, 
"May joy like this be ours forever!" 



The "Little Women" 

Jo, now the wife of Professor Bhaer, and a well-known 

writer, about forty 
Meg, the widow of John Brooke, a year older than Jo 
Amy, now married to Laurie, thirty-seven 

"Jo's Boys" 

Teddy, her own son, about seventeen 
Demi, Meg's son, in his early twenties 
Emil, an orphaned nephew of the Professor, twenty-three 
Dan, whom Jo took in at Plumfield as a homeless waif, in 
his early twenties 

The Others 

Professor Bhaer, now President of Plumfield College, some- 

ivhat older than Jo 
Laurie, about forty 
Josie, Meg's daughter, about eighteen 
Nan, whom Jo has brought up at Plumfield, in her early 

Bess, the daughter of Amy and Laurie, eighteen 
Mrs. Erastus Kingsbury Parmalee, of Oshkosh 
Esmeralda, Mrs. Parmalee' s elder daughter 
Annabella, her younger daughter 


The action takes place in the downstairs sitting-room of the old 
house at Plumfield, the estate left to Jo by Aunt March. 

ACT I: A spring day, in the year 1881. 

Act II, Scene 1: Morning, three weeks later. 

Scene 2: A week later, the night of the Commence- 
ment ball. 
Act III: Morning, two weeks later. 

The following is a re-print of the house program used at a test production of 
JO'S BOYS, at Sarasota (Florida) High School, by the Dramateers, under the 
direction of Mr. Donald McQueen, in collaboration with Miss Alma Johnson. 

Sarasota High School Dramateers 


Louisa May Alcott's 


Dramatization by Alma Johnson 
Directed by Donald McQueen 


Jo Joyce Ross 

MEG Norma Jones 

AMY Lena Sandstrom 

Laurie David Lynn 

JOSIE , Annette Cevy 

Teddy Otho Watford 

NAN Sue Mize 

Demi Dick McDermott 

BESS Birgetta Belgau 

EMIL Forrest Olsen 


DAN Hobart James 

Mrs. Erastus Kingsbury Parmalee Evelyn Poole 

ANNABELLA Arline Bismark 

ESMERALDA Maribel Meriwether 

Production Staff 

Student Assistant Althea Bush 

Sound Effects Janice Matisse 

Lights John Ingram 

Stage Manager Hubert Dean 

Scenery Mildred Camburn 

PROPERTIES Rozella Raines, Craig Parker, Lynard Joyce, John Robinson 

Tickets Amy Routier 

COSTUMES Norma Yentner, Ellen Boggs 

USHERS Ellen Bretschneider 

Assisted by Miss Mary Frank Sears and other 
members of the High School Faculty 


This is a royalty play. Do not make arrangements to produce it without first 
getting permission from the publishers. It is dishonest and illegal to copy parts. 

Act I 

The time is 1881, in the late spring. The action takes place in the 
downstairs sitting-room of the old house at Plumfield, the 
estate left to Jo by Aunt March. Much of the furniture in 
the room is early Victorian, the same used by Aunt March 
years before, but there are a few more nearly up-to-date 
pieces. About the room is an atmosphere of friendliness. 

There is a wide fireplace at the R. In front of it is a low- 
backed divan or sofa, and farther downstage, an easy chair 
and hassock. Upstage from the fireplace is a small desk with 
two tiers of bookshelves above it. D.R. is a door leading to 
the study. 

U.C. are French doors leading to the garden, glimpses of 
ivhich may be seen through the glass panels of the doors and 
through the windows on either side in the back wall. Beneath 
each window is a cushioned seat, covered and flounced with 
gayly colored chintz. There are curtains, which may be 
drawn together, on the doors and ivindows. 

U.L. is an archway or door leading to the entrance hall, and 
thence to the street, the ballroom, and the second floor of the 
house. Through the arch, one may see the foot of a stairway 
and a hall-tree. If the hallway is impossible, business which 
takes place in the hall may be brought into the room. Down- 
stage from this arch is a small spinet piano, conceivably the 
one belonging to Beth in Little Women. Above the piano 
is a portrait of Beth as she appeared before her final illness — 
rosy-cheeked, with smooth brown hair and a shy, gentle 


smile. Over the mantelpiece on the other side of the room 
is a portrait of Marmee, the mother of Little Women. 

D.L. of C. is a heavy round table. On it are a kerosene lamp, 
a sewing-basket, and some newspapers and books. Three 
chairs are placed around it. D.L. is the door leading to the 

When the play begins, Jo, Meg, and Amy are sitting, talking 
together. Jo is lounging on the sofa in a none-too-sedate 
posture for her forty years and her reputation as a writer. 
She has a basket of varicolored socks which she attacks vig- 
orously, but spasmodically. She is as brown and lean as when 
she was a girl, but maturity and rich experiences have mel- 
lowed the sharpness of her features. There are a few streaks 
of gray in her dark hair. She is, as always, plainly dressed. 

Meg is plump and matronly. She wears a little lace cap on 
her brown hair and a frill at her throat. She sits in the easy 
chair D.R., and works daintily at a piece of embroidery. 

Amy is sitting beside the table D.L. She has a piece of 
drawing paper fastened to a small drawing-board, and a pen- 
cil with which she makes swift, sure strokes as she talks with 
her sisters. She stops occasionally to look intently at Jo, 
who is her present model. Amy has grown beautiful with 
the years, and her childish efforts at elegance have led to a 
mature charm and grace. She is stylishly dressed, with all 
the flounces — and of course the bustle — of the period. 

As the curtain rises, Jo is surveying the hopelessness of a 
large gray sock, Meg is knotting a new thread, and Amy is 
studying Jo's face, with her pencil poised in the air. Just as 
we expect, it is Jo who breaks the silence. 

Jo. Can you believe it's only a few weeks till Commencement 
— and summer vacation? 

Meg. It seems as if each year goes more swiftly than the last. 

[Act I] JO'S BOYS 11 

Why, it seems only yesterday that Plumfield College was founded. 
Wonderful changes have taken place here in the last ten years. 

Amy. I sometimes wonder how Aunt March would like the 
idea of a college overrunning her fine old estate. 

Jo. {Chuckling.) She'd probably pretend to be furious, but 
in her heart she'd be pleased. Dear crotchety old soul! When we 
first established our home and school for poor youngsters, I used to 
imagine Aunt March's ghost chasing boys out of apple trees and 
jumping out of linen closets to scold rowdy tomboys! And I can 
still hear her calling {imitating Aunt March's shrill, querulous 
voice) "Josy-phine! Josy-phine!" 

Amy. Poor, dear old lady! 

Meg. It's hard to believe that all your adopted boys and girls 
are now grown up, Jo — and our own no longer children, either. 

Amy. When we were little girls at home, we used to believe 
in fairies, remember? And we'd plan what we'd ask for if we could 
have three wishes. It seems as if most of our wishes have been 
granted, doesn't it? I have all the money I ever wanted for luxuries, 
a little success in my drawing, a beautiful home near each of my 
dear sisters, and the nicest husband and daughter in the world. 

Jo. {Rumpling her hair as she clasps her hands over her head.) 
Well, I have plenty of the work I love to do, a little fame in my 
scribbling, this dear old house to live in, plenty of boys to worry 
about — even though only one of 'em is really my own — and, if 
not plenty of money, at least I never go hungry as we sometimes did 
when we were girls. 

Meg. I have had my wishes, too, and am quite content in my 
little cottage over the hill. ... If all our dear ones were still with 
us, it would be quite perfect. 

Amy. They are still with us. Never does a problem arise, but 
in my mind I hear Marmee's voice counseling me. 

(Jo drops her ball of darning thread and gets up to retrieve 
it. She stops in front of the fireplace to gaze up at the por- 


trait above the mantelpiece — standing in her old tomboyish 
way, feet a little too far apart, her hands folded behind her.) 

Jo. This portrait helps to keep her with me. You did it splen- 
didly, Amy . . . and Meg looks more like her every day. 

Amy. If you don't sit down and keep still, Jo, this portrait 
won't look much like you, I'm afraid. 

(Jo amiably resumes her seat and poses with one sock held 
aloft. ) 

Jo. How's this? Belligerent Feminist in Domestic Scene. Think 
that would please my public? 

{They laugh together. There is a moment of silence.) 

Meg. I only wish I had Marmee's patience and wisdom. Then 
I should know how to handle Josie. I don't know what I shall do 
with that child of mine! 

Jo. She isn't really a child any more, Meg. She is past seven- 
teen now, you know. And she gets her theatrical talent directly 
from her mother — don't forget that! 

Meg. {In horror and shame.) But she wants to go on the 

Amy. She will get over that in time, Meg. 

Jo. What if she doesn't! There have been worse things than 
acting and worse people than actors and actresses. Talents are not 
given to one without reason, you know. 

Amy. That is what Laurie says when he wants our Bess to give 
more time to her music. 

Jo. Poor little Bess! Her father determined to make her a 
great pianist, her mother set on her being a sculptress! It is fortu- 
nate that she is really talented in both. 

Amy. Or unfortunate! Now, if all her genius were in art . . . 
{The other two laugh at her, and she joins in.) 

Meg. Josie is already so excited about the play for Commence- 
ment that she doesn't sleep or eat. She says that Charlotte Cameron, 
the famous actress, has promised to come and see it. 

[Act I] JO'S BOYS 13 

Amy. Yes, she has. Laurie saw her when he was in Boston last 
week. She is much interested in amateur theatricals. 

Meg. Charlotte Cameron may be a very fine person, but I don't 
want my daughter to be an actress! I want her to become a respecta- 
ble, dignified, modest wife and 

(She is interrupted by shrieks of LAUGHTER offstage L. 
TEDDY rushes in through the arch U.L., followed by 
JOSIE in hot pursuit. He has a book in his hand, which 
he holds just out of her reach. He is a tall, gangling boy 
tvith wild yellow hair. Josie's dark curly hair has fallen 
over her face and shoulders, and her hat is hanging at her 
back. Her dark little face is pretty and very expressive, and 
there is about her a winsome charm and vitality. Just now 
her appearance is a bit disheveled from the chase through 
meadow and brook and briars.) 
Jo. (Laughing as they appear.) Especially dignified! 
Meg. Josie! Where in the world have you been? What are 
you doing? 

Josie. Ted has my book, and I will have it! Hold him for me, 
Aunt Jo! 

(Ted has dodged behind the sofa and now makes a dash 
toward escape, but too late, for Jo collars him.) 
Jo. What have you to say for yourself, thief? 
Teddy. Let me go, Mother — quick! 

Josie. Ted and I went fishing, and I got tired and was study- 
ing my part in the willow tree, and Ted came up and poked the 
book out of my hands with his fishing rod. It fell in the brook, 
and before I could scramble down, he was off with it. You wretch, 
give it back this moment, or I'll box your ears! 
(She advances threateningly.) 

Meg. Josie! You've torn your dress! 

Josie. (Unperturbed.) Yes, Mother. 

(Jo turns Teddy over to Josie's tender mercies, but he 


ducks from her vengeful arms and darts over to D.L., where 
he holds the book at arm's length, and, assuming a mock dra- 
matic pose, pretends to be reading Josie's lines from the 
play. JOSIE halts in her descent upon him, for he really is 
funny, and she can't resist a laugh. ) 

Teddy. {Going, tvith comical effect, from the extremely melo- 
dramatic to the extremely casual in one breath.) Ah, my heart, 
how canst thou betray me thus? I shall be brave; I must be strong! 
I shall see him no more — I will see him no more! Come, all ye 
protectors of faint maidenly hearts — gird round me bands of iron 
to hold me to my duty! But ah, me! Ah, ah, ah, me! Such woe! 
Such woe! 

{He suddenly ends by distorting his face horribly and tying 

his long legs into knots.) 
Dost like the picture, love? 

{The others laugh, and Teddy quickly extricates himself 

from the knots to bow low several times, as if responding to 

insistent curtain calls.) 

Jo. You two are a team, and it takes a strong hand to drive 
you, but I rather like trying it. Josie ought to have been my daugh- 
ter instead of yours, Meg. Then your house would have been all 
peace and mine all bedlam. 

Josie. {Bearing down on the culprit again.) Now, will you 
relinquish the book, sir? 

Teddy. Your book? ... Of course, my good woman, of course! 
Your book — allow me! 

{And he presents it to her with a grandiloquent bow. She 
curtsies as she takes it, then quickly gives his nose a tweak 
and runs to the ivindow seat U.L., where she curls up to 
study her part. During the ensuing conversation, she may 
be seen gesturing and grimacing as she goes through the 
lines. Teddy saunters over to Amy and looks at the sketch 
she is making.) 

[Act I] JOS BOYS 15 

That's a jolly good likeness of Mrs. Josephine Bhaer, the noted 
authoress, Aunt Amy. 

Meg. What a ridiculous way in which to refer to your own 
mother, Teddy! 

Teddy. Well, she is Mrs. Josephine Bhaer, and she is a famous 

authoress. ... By the by, does Demi have an article in this week's 

paper, Aunt Meg? They don't sign 'em any more, so I couldn't tell. 

(He picks up from the table a jour-page newspaper of the 

period. ) 

Meg. (With evident disapproval.) He wrote that article tell- 
ing about those newfangled machines they use to print with in some 
of the offices — typewriters, they call 'em. And the one about Em- 
maline Hopkins and those other awful women trying to vote in the 
state elections. 

Jo. I don't think they're awful, Meg. Women should be given 
the right to vote. 

Teddy. Nan says she's going to vote soon as she's twenty-one 
— even if they put her in jail! 

Meg. Nan is a very bold and independent young woman. 
Jo. She's a very capable young woman. 

Meg. Well, anyway, I wish my Demi would get over his in- 
fatuation for her. And I wish, too, that he'd give up that horrible 
newspaper business. 

Teddy. Well, I don't. I think it's jolly. Maybe he'll be a fa- 
mous writer like the mater some day. And Nan will be a great 
doctor and everything will be jolly. 

(He takes the paper with him to the other window seat, 

U.R., where he sprawls to read.) 

Meg. (Sighing.) I'm afraid none of my ambitions for my 
children will bear any fruit. I have so hoped, and even prayed, that 
Demi would go into the ministry, but nothing seems further from 
his mind. And of course Josie . . . 


(She breaks off in another plaintive sigh as she looks in the 
direction of the stage-struck JOSIE. ) 

Jo. We cannot drive our children, but must remember that 
experience is the best teacher. Though it's often hard, especially 
when we see all our own faults and whims and weaknesses in our 
offspring (glancing back at Teddy, who looks up to give her an 
appreciative wink and grin) as I do in my Teddy — and foresee the 
hard places we could lift them across if they'd only let us. But they 
won't — any more than we listened to our elders when we were 

Amy. That is true. But I'll never bear it if my Bess disap- 
points me. 

Meg. But Bess will never disappoint you, dear. Your every 
wish is her law. 

Jo. Well, my only son thus far is quite satisfactory. 

(Another look of understanding passes from Jo to Teddy.) 
And of all the lot my Fritz and I gathered in when we started our 
school here at Plumneld, not one has greatly disappointed us. 

Amy. What about Dan, Jo? He has caused you enough worry, 
I am sure. 

Jo. But Dan has a brave and loyal heart. It's only his impetu- 
ous nature that gets him into trouble sometimes. Poor boy! When 
I remember the sort of life Fritz and I rescued him from when he 
was a child — ragged, hungry, dirty . . . 

Meg. I never could have taken in all those children and moth- 
ered them as you have, Jo. 

Jo. I've loved it. And if they are the fine men and women I 
expect them to be, all my labor will be well repaid. 

Teddy. (Looking up from his paper.) But if we all turn out 
bad, we shall pay a high price for our folly — like the girl in this 

Jo. (Sharply.) What are you reading, Teddy? 

Teddy. "The Trial of Mary Weakheart: or The Downfall of 

(Act I] JOS BOYS 17 

Innocence." Virtuous maiden deceived by city crook — but she gets 
her revenge. 

Jo. You shouldn't read such — such trash! You know how your 
father disapproves, Teddy. 

Teddy. But it isn't really bad, Mother, just a bit silly. Lots of 
people like this kind of story. 

Amy. We have a new book of stories by that Western writer, 
Bret Harte, which you'd like, Teddy. Laurie gave it to Bess for her 
birthday. She'd lend it to you, I'm sure. 

Teddy. Thanks, Aunt Amy. I like his tales. Wish I could go 
West myself. That would be the life for me! 

Jo. (Rising.) Would you help me to bring the tea now, 
Teddy? Of course, that is a weak substitute for Indian fighting, 
but I do need you. 

Teddy. (Grinning as he gets awkardly to his feet.) Of 
course, Mother. 

Amy. May I help, Jo? 

Jo. Thanks, everything is ready. Teddy and I can manage. 
(They go out D.L.) 

Meg. Do you know whether Jo has had any more of those 
fainting spells, Amy? I've worried about her — ever since her ill- 
ness three summers ago. 

Amy. She laughs at any mention of not being well. But I'm 
sure she needs more rest than she will allow herself. 

Meg. Somehow, I have a feeling she is keeping something 
from us — and from Fritz, as well. 

Amy. Oh, you're probably imagining troubles which don't 
exist, dear. If Jo was really ill, all of us would know it, I'm sure. 

Meg. Just the same, I believe that I shall ask 

(She is interrupted by the entrance of NAN, through the 
arch U.L. She is a healthy, self-possessed young woman, 
very simply and sensibly dressed. She carries a large leather 
medicine kit which she sets on the floor beside the piano.) 


Nan. Hello, everybody! 
Amy. Why, hello, Nan. 
Meg. Good afternoon, Nan. 
Amy. You're surely looking well, dear. 

Nan. (As she seats herself on the piano bench.) Strong as 
a horse! 

Meg. I never can quite get used to such an athletic look about 
young ladies. When I was a girl, we wanted to look fragile and 

Nan. I'm afraid your lovely swooning invalids went out with 
hoopskirts, Aunt Meg. In this year of our Lord, 1881, we're devel- 
oping muscles, so help us! 

(She exhibits hers. JO and TEDDY enter from D.L., 
carrying trays with tea service. ) 
Jo. Hullo, Doctor Nan! What sort of demonstration is this? 
Nan. (As she crosses to relieve Jo of the tea tray, which she 
sets on the table D.L.) Aunt Meg was just deploring my Ama- 
zonian strength — and I was boasting of it, I'm afraid. 

(Ted also places his burden on the table. He and NAN pour 
tea and hand it to the three older women. Jo resumes her 
seat on the sofa.) 

Meg. There is such a thing as looking too . . . well, too capa- 
ble of taking care of oneself, my dear. Men like women to be 
a bit dependent on them. 

Nan. But I can take care of myself, so why pretend, just to flat- 
ter masculine vanity? 

Teddy. Bravo, Doctor! (Then, to Amy, as he hands her a 
cup of tea. ) Sugar, Aunt Amy? 

Amy. Yes, please. 

Jo. It's quite all right to be independent, Nan, and I'm quite 
proud of you. I expect you to be a great and successful doctor some- 
day. We need such capable women in this world. I sometimes feel 

[Act I] JOS BOYS 19 

as if I'd missed my vocation and ought to have remained single. 
But my duty seemed to point this way {indicating the basket of 
socks), and I don't regret it. 

Teddy. {As he hands her a cup of tea.) Neither do I. For 
where would I be without you? 

Nan. {Glancing in the direction of Josie, who is still absorbed 
in her study.) Do you think our young Bernhardt could be enticed 
long enough for a cup of tea? 

{Suddenly JosiE gives a smothered shriek of terror, and, ris- 
ing and creeping downstage as if in a trance, delivers Juliet's 
speech in the tomb, with real dramatic effect. ) 
Josie. "What's here? A cup, closed in my true love's hand? 
Poison, I see, hath been his timeless end. 
O churl! drunk all, and left no friendly drop 
To help me after? I will kiss thy lips; 
Haply some poison yet doth hang on them, 
To make me die with a restorative. 
Thy lips are warm! . . . 

Yea, noise? Then I'll be brief. O happy dagger! 
This is thy sheath; there rust, and let me die!" 
{She has pretended to stab herself through the heart, and 
now falls convincingly into a graceful heap on the floor. 
The members of her audience have put down their cups and 
now applaud enthusiastically. JOSIE sits up and beams with 
satisfaction. ) 
Nan. {Shaking her head.) Too much cerebral excitement for 
one of her age. 

Jo. I'm afraid you'll have to make up your mind to it, Meg. 
That child is a born actress. We never did anything so well our- 
selves, not even "The Witch's Curse." 

Meg. It is a sort of judgment upon me for my passion for the 
stage when I was a girl. Now I know how dear Marmee felt when 
I begged to be an actress. I never can consent — and yet I may 
have to. 


Teddy. {Picking Josie up with a firm hand.) Don't disgrace 
your mother, girl! 

Josie. {Shaking herself free.) Unhand me, villain, or I'll give 
you the "Maniac Bride" with my best ha-ha! 
{She ends with a villainous laugh.) 
Teddy. {Beaming with pride.) Isn't she great fun? I couldn't 
stop in this dull place if I hadn't that child to make life lively for 
me! If she ever turns prim, I'm off. 

Josie. "Child" indeed! I'd have you remember I'm almost 
eighteen, and a year your elder, sonny! 

{She chucks him under the chin. There is a KNOCK on 
the door off L., followed by a LOUD WHISTLE.) 
Meg. That's Demi; he's come to take me home. 

(Ted goes to the door to admit DEMI, a fresh-faced, keen- 
eyed young man in his early twenties. ) 

Teddy. {As he opens the door.) Here's your "Evening Tat- 
ler!" Latest edition! Awful murder! Bank clerk absconded! Great 
strike of the Latin-School boys! 

Demi. {Entering with Teddy, waving the newspaper he car- 
ries.) The Commodore is in and will cut his cable and run before 
the wind as soon as he can get off! 

{All are excited and pleased by the news.) 

Jo. {Jumping up to take the paper.) You've seen Emil? His 
ship is in port? {Reading, as Josie and Teddy peer over her 
shoulder.) "The Brenda arrived in port today from Hamburg ** 

Teddy. Hurrah for Commodore Emil! 

Jo. Bless the boy! He's been gone almost a year. How happy 
Fritz will be! 

Teddy. Shall I go over to college and fetch him, Mother? 

Jo. Yes, do, Teddy. He was talking of Emil only this morning. 
The boy has always been his favorite nephew. 

(Teddy is already gone, making his exit U.C.) 


Josie. (In a very apparent state of nervousness.) When will 
he be here, Demi? Emil, I mean — when is he coming? 

Demi. He'll come lurching in in half an hour or so. I saw 
him, jolly and tarry and brown as a coffee berry. Had a good run, 
and hopes to be second mate, as the other fellow is laid up with a 
broken leg. 

(At his first sentence, JOSIE has disappeared through the 
arch U.L. and up the stairs.) 

Nan. Wish I had the setting of it. 

Demi. (Seeing her for the first time.) Oh — hullo, Nan! 
Didn't know you were here. . . . Gee, I didn't know you were here! 
(We suspect at once just what ailment it is Demi suffers 
and for which Nan might prescribe. ) 

Nan. (Matter-of-factly.) Well, I am. 

Jo. Go on and tell us more news. What does Emil report of his 
brother Franz? 

Demi. Why, er — (reluctantly turning back to Jo) — he's going 
to be married! Not Emil — Franz. There's news for you, Aunt Jo! 
The first of the flock you gathered into your fold, so say good-bye 
to him. 

Jo. I'm glad to hear it. I want to settle my boys with a good 
wife and a nice home. 

Demi. I entirely agree with you, Aunt Jo! That's what a fel- 
low needs to keep him steady. And it's the duty of nice girls to 
marry just as soon as possible! 

(He gives NAN a sly glance, which she ignores.) 

Jo. That depends upon whether there are enough nice fellows 
to go round. The female population exceeds the male, you know, 
especially here in New England. 

Demi. Which accounts for the high state of culture we are in, 
I suppose! 

Jo. It is a merciful provision, my dear boy. For it takes three 
or four women to get each man into, through, and out of the world. 


You are costly creatures, and it is well that mothers, sisters, wives, 

and daughters love their duty and do it so well, or you would perish 

off the face of the earth. 

(She has taken up her darning again.) 
Nan. Since that is the case, there is plenty of work for the 

superfluous women to do, in taking care of these poor, helpless men 

and their families. I see that more clearly every day, and am glad 

that my profession will make me a useful, happy, and independent 


(She emphasizes the last word, and Demi groans. The doors 
U.C. open, disclosing LAURIE and BESS upon the 
threshold. Laurie is a handsome man of about forty, still 
possessing the debonair charm of his youth. Bess is a slim, 
golden-haired girl of eighteen, with her father's winsome 
manner, her mother's grace of figure, and a wistful, almost 
ethereal air which reminds one of the gentle "Beth" of Little 
Women. Her arm is linked with her father's, and his pride 
in her is evident in voice and look. AMY turns and sees them 
at once.) 
Amy. Here are my husband and daughter — come to take me 

home, no doubt. 

Laurie. Why, here's quite a gathering. Is it a party? 

(He walks down to stand back of Amy. He touches her 
head gently and she reaches up to give his hand an affection- 
ate little pat.) 
Demi. No party — but there will be soon! Emil is in port from 

Hamburg and will be out here in a little while! And old Franz is 

planning to take a wife unto his bosom! 
Bess. Why, how exciting! Is she pretty? 
Demi. Typical Nordic, so Emil reports. Blonde and stolid. 

But hardly your type of blondeness, I should imagine, Princess. 

Laurie. Well, now that the epidemic has broken out, it will 
ravage your flock, Jo. Be prepared for every sort of romance and 
rashness for the next five years. 

[Act I] JO'S BOYS 23 

Jo. I know. It's an awful responsibility, for they will come to 
me and insist that I can make their poor little loves run smoothly. 

Demi. May I have an early appointment with you, Aunt Jo? 
(They all laugh except NAN, who looks as if she didn't know 
what he meant. ) 

Amy. I suppose that Dan will never cause you any worries of 
that sort, Jo. He is much too rough and wild to appeal to girls. 

Bess. Why, Mama, I like Dan very much. 

Nan. And so do I. 

Amy. But of course. All of us like him, for he's one of Jo's 
boys. But I don't think he would have very much romantic appeal 
for a girl. Not so much as Emil, for example. 

Laurie. Where is Dan now, Jo? 

Jo. In California, looking up mines, when last I heard. That 
has been a long time — months ago. 

Nan. Wouldn't it be jolly if Dan were here! Then we could 
have a real reunion. 

Laurie. Well, before our wandering sailor arrives, I want you 
all to come with me to our garden and see the new fountain. My 
daughter designed it; it's her first masterpiece! 

(He puts his arm about her shoulders proudly.) 

Amy. (Rising.) Laurie! Is it all ready? 

Laurie. Yes, my lady. Will you come? Won't all of you? We 
shall be back before Emil arrives. 

Meg. (Gathering up her sewing.) We are all so proud of 

Amy. Bess, why didn't you tell me it was back from the stone- 

Bess. We wanted to surprise you, Mama. 

Amy. So that's why I was urged to come over to Plumfield for 
a visit this afternoon! You two conspirators! 

(She places a hand fondly on the arm of each.) 


Laurie. Come, Jo — we shall keep you only a moment. 

(All of them except Demi move to the doors U.C. and go 

out, talking together: "Look! It shines all the way from 

Parnassus!" "Bess, you're a real artist!" etc. Demi catches 

Nan's arm as she is about to go with the others, and pulls 

her back.) 

Demi. Don't you think some of us should stay here — because 

of Emil, you know. He might come and feel quite hurt if no one 

was here to welcome him home. 

Nan. {Starting to go.) You stay, then. 

Demi. But he's already seen me. Come on, stay, Nan. You 
know I need some medical advice. There's something terribly wrong 
with me, I know there is. It's really your professional duty to stay 
with me. If I were left alone, I might faint or — or have a lit or 

(Nan goes to the medicine kit she placed on the floor be- 
side the piano, gets it and brings it to the table D.L. and 
opens it — all in her best professional manner. ) 
Nan. (As she gets the bag.) How is your throat? 
Demi. My throat? . . . Throat . . . oh — ah — yes, I remember 
now! It's well, perfectly well. The effect of that prescription was 
wonderful, simply wonderful! It must have had something power- 
ful in it, Nan. 

Nan. It did. If plain sugar can cure diphtheria in that remark- 
able manner, I must make a note of it. 
(She smiles in spite of herself.) 

Demi. Well, I knew I shouldn't see you for a week if I didn't 
scare up some excuse for a call at the office. You are so desperately 
busy all the time, I never get a word. 

Nan. You ought to be busy too, and above such nonsense. 
Really, Demi, if you don't work harder, you'll never be anything but 
a cub reporter. 

Demi. How can I, when I'm suffering so? I may not look deli- 

[Act I] JOS BOYS 25 

cate, but I've a deep-seated heart complaint, and it will carry me off 
sooner or later. For only one doctor in the world can cure it, and 
she won't. 

Nan. Oh, she won't, eh? 

Demi. Nan, please listen to me for this once. You know that 
ever since we were kids, and you lived here at Plumfield, and we 
went to school and played together 

Nan. Let me see your tongue! (He stares, open-mouthed.) 
Put out your tongue! (He does so in mute astonishment.') Hmmm. 
. . . (Speaking to herself and writing on a pad of paper she has 
taken from her kit.) Symptoms of acidosis, or perhaps 

Demi. (Coming out of his stupor.) Sit down here, Nan. I 
want to talk to you, and you are going to listen! 

(He pulls her down into the chair at L. of table.) 
I'm not a schoolboy any longer, and I know my own mind. You 
can't go on treating me as if I were a joke. 
(He drops to his knees beside her.) 
You've got to listen to me, Nan. I love you! 

( With calm deliberation she takes his wrist and places her 
fingers over his pulse, looking off into space with the profes- 
sional expression of pulse-counting.) 

Nan. Somewhat fast. ... (As she again scribbles on the pad.) 
What were you saying, Demi? 

Demi. (Scrambling to his feet angrily and awkwardly, and 
shouting at her.) I said I love you! 

Nan. You do? How nice. How has your digestion been 

(Demi groans in despair.) 
How do you expect me to cure you of this heart-disease if you won't 
co-operate with me? A more refractory patient never lived. Did 
you go to that ball as I directed? 

Demi. I did. 

Nan. And devote yourself to pretty Miss West? 


Demi. Danced with her the whole evening — all forty-eight 
hours of it. 

Nan. No impression made on that susceptible organ of yours? 

Demi. Not the slightest. I yawned in her face once, forgot to 
feed her, and gave a sigh of relief when I handed her back to her 

Nan. Repeat the dose as often as possible, and note the symp- 
toms. I predict you will cry for it by and by. 

Demi. Never! I'm sure it doesn't suit my constitution! 

Nan. We shall see. Obey orders! 

Demi. (Meekly.) Yes, Doctor. (Immediately aggressive.) 
But when I've courted every empty-headed young lady in this col- 
lege and in this town and in this whole state — — 

(He hears a noise at the doors U.C. and stops. It is JO.) 

Jo. (Entering.) I'm sorry to interrupt this quiet little tete-a- 
tete, but I wanted to see you both. 

Nan. You're very welcome, Aunt Jo. We were just hoping 
someone would come, weren't we, Demi? 

Demi. (Glowering at her.) Yes — oh, yes, indeed. 

(Jo goes to the desk U.R. and, pulling out a drawer, takes 
out two plump, long, folded manuscripts and hands them to 
Demi. ) 

Jo. Here are two more potboilers, Demi. It is still our secret, 
isn't it? 

Demi. Yes, of course. That is — I had to tell the editor the 
other day, Aunt Jo. But he'll not say anything. 

Jo. I'm sorry you told him. It isn't that I'm ashamed of these 
stories — that is, not quite. They are terribly silly and sensational. 

Nan. It seems they are the kind many people like. My patients 
gobble them up while they are waiting for their turn. 

Demi. You are a brick, Aunt Jo. It takes real courage to write 


stuff you don't want to write, to pay for treatments for an ailment 
you bear alone. Why don't you tell the Professor? 

Jo. There is no need. He is too serene and happy in his work, 
and too many troubled students depend upon his serenity. I can 
bear this alone — with you and Nan to help me. And the doctors 
say that I am much better. Isn't that true, Nan? 

Nan. Yes, it is. You will soon be quite well; Doctor Conrad is 
sure of it. 

Jo. There won't need to be many more of these — these illegiti- 
mate brain-children of mine. You know, they are the same sort of 
stories I first sold, years ago, before I met Fritz. He scolded me for 
them when he read them. He called them trash, and told me I 
could do better. 

Demi. Think of the books you have to be proud of. 
Jo. But they haven't brought enough money . . . and so I've 
supplemented it with this — this trash. The Professor thinks that 
the money Aunt March left us is still lasting . . . and I've just let 
him think so. 

Demi. You can depend upon us, can't she, Nan? 
Nan. You're jolly well right she can. You'll come to the hos- 
pital again tomorrow, Aunt Jo? Doctor Conrad will be in at 


(The arch U.L. opens and NAN stops abruptly. It is JOS IE 
— but what a different Josie/ Her hair is brushed smoothly 
from her face and pinned up demurely in place. The rent 
in her dress has also been pinned up, and she now has the 
appearance and demeanor of a most proper and sedate young 
lady. ) 

Demi. Well! What a transformation! What fairy waved her 
magic wand over my topsy-turvy little sister? 

Josie. (With dignity.) Can you be speaking to me, sir? 

Jo. You look very nice, dear, with your hair combed and your 
skirt back in one piece. 


Demi. But I'm suspicious. What sophomore is lurking in the 
garden, awaiting a tryst with so fair a maid? You will do well to 
confess all to your brother, lass, and give him your confidence after 

Josie. {Suddenly becoming Ophelia.) 

"I shall the effect of this good lesson keep, 
As watchman to my heart. But, good my brother, 
Do not, as some ungracious pastors do, 
Show me the steep and thorny way to heaven: 
Whiles, like a puff 'd and reckless libertine, 
Himself the primrose path of dalliance treads, 
And recks not his own rede." 

(She turns quickly from him and goes to the easy chair D.R. 

where she seats herself with great modesty, smoothing her 

skirt and placing herself in the pose of a most demure young 

lady. ) 

Demi. (Mopping his brow.) Whew! Ophelia's raving again. 

Jo. Don't plague her, Demi. . . . Well, I shall rejoin the others 

in the garden of Parnassus. Call us if Emil should arrive. 

(She goes toward the doors U.C.) 
Well, what's this hurricane? 

(TEDDY flies in at the doors U.C, calling as he comes.) 
Teddy. Ahoy! Ship ahoy! He's coming! He's here! Commo- 
dore Emil — he's coming down the street! Come, Josie — let's give 
him the royal escort! 

( Not perceiving her new dignity, he grabs her arm and forci- 
bly propels her across the room and out the arch U.L.) 
Jo. It will be good to have our jolly tar home again. 
Nan. Good old Emil! 

Demi. Wait till you see him — browner than ever! 

(Teddy is heard off L. singing lustily, "Sailing, Sailing, Over 
the Stormy Sea',' then the trio enters — EMIL, in sailor's 
garb, very broivn and hearty, with TEDDY on one side 

[Act I] JO'S BOYS 21 

and JOSIE on the other. Their arms are loaded with 
bundles of strange shapes and sizes. He thrusts his load 
into JOSIE'S surprised arms to stride across the room and take 
Jo into his arms in a ferocious hug which lifts her off her 
Jo. My blessed boy! It's good to have you home! 
Emil. It's great to be here! Hullo, if it isn't Naughty Nan 
over here! 

Nan. Hullo, yourself, Commodore! You're looking great! 

(They shake hands cordially.) 
Emil. I see now why Demi couldn't wait for me but must rush 
on ahead! 

(He and the others laugh. NAN puckers her nose in a way 
characteristic of her. JosiE has deposited her bundles on the 
table, and now is behaving most strangely, alternating from 
her naturally merry manner to her sedate pose and back 
again, as she sits primly, only to bounce up to hover near 
Emil, then return to the chair, etc.) 
Where is Uncle Fritz? 

Jo. Teddy went to the college for him as soon as we knew you 
were coming. 

Teddy. He was with me, but I ran faster! 
Demi. (Looking out the doors U.C.) Here comes the Profes- 
sor now — and the rest of the family! 

(And in from the garden come LAURIE and AMY, 
is a stout, bearded man, genial and kindly.) 
Emil. (As Amy enters first.) Aunt Amy! As beautiful as 

(He kisses her.) 
How are you, sir? 

(He shakes hands with LAURIE.) 
Laurie. As healthy as you look, Commodore! 


Emil. Princess! And Aunt Meg! Uncle Fritz! 
Professor. My boy! It iss so goot to see you! 

(And they embrace each other in the good old German style, 
to the delight of all the observers. ) 
Emil. Was afraid I couldn't get off today, but found I could 
and steered straight for old Plumneld. Bless your hearts, how glad 
I am to see you all! 

{He is near C, with one arm about Jo and the other about 

the Professor. The others are grouped about — Laurie, 

Amy, and Bess together at one side. Josie has returned to 

her demure manner, but Teddy is hopping about excitedly.) 

Teddy. You ought to "shiver your timbers" not "bless our 

hearts," Commodore! It's not nautical at all. How shippy and tarry 

all this smells! 

(He sniffs at the bundles which have been deposited on the 
table. ) 
Emil. (Releasing his aunt and uncle in order to hold Teddy 
off.) Avast, me hearty, and let me take soundings before you dive! 

Jo. Presents! 

Laurie. Trust the Commodore — he never forgets his friends. 
(While all watch with great interest, Emil gets one of his 
bundles and brings out various parcels as he talks. The older 
people have sat down about the room.) 

Emil. Here's a hawser that will hold our little cockboat still 
about five minutes — why, she's already still! Bless my bones, what's 
happened to Josie? 

(He has taken out a string of coral beads.) 

Teddy. She's rehearsing her role in "Diana, the Dying Swan." 

Isn't she good? 

(Attention is centered on Josie, who becomes distinctly un- 
comfortable. She manages to retain considerable poise, how- 
ever, and, looking up at Emil through her lashes, she smiles 

[Act I] JO'S BOYS 31 

Josie. I'm very glad you're home, Emil. And thank you for the 

Emil. {Blinking.) Don't tell me my sweetheart of every port 
has grown up! Well, well, and the Princess, too, I suppose. But 
here's a necklace the mermaids sent her! 

{And he hands Bess a dainty bit of jewelry.) 
Bess. How lovely! 

Emil. Thought it looked like you, Princess. 
Teddy. What's that — a grizzly bear? 

{For Emil has next taken out an inkstand in the shape of 
a large bear. He bows low as he presents this to Jo.) 
Emil. That's for our famous scribbler. Knowing well your 
fondness for these fine animals, I brought this one to your pen, 

Jo. Oh, an inkwell! Very good, Commodore! 
Professor. Immortal vorks vill come from its depths, I 

Emil. As Aunt Meg will wear caps, in spite of her youth, I 
brought her some bits of lace. Hope you'll like 'em. 

{He hands Meg a filmy lace cap, which immediately re- 
places the one she has been wearing.) 
Meg. Thank you, Emil. 

Emil. I couldn't find anything elegant enough for you, Aunt 
Amy, because you already have everything, so I brought a little 
picture of a Madonna which always reminds me of you when Bess 
was a baby and you held her in your arms. 

{He gives her a small picture in a gilt frame.) 
Amy. How lovely! I shall treasure it always. 
Emil. Now I flatter myself I've got just the thing for Nan, 
neat but not gaudy, a sort of sign, you see — very appropriate for a 

{He holds up a pair of earrings shaped like skulls.) 
Bess. Skulls! How horrid! 


Josie. Nan won't wear earrings. Not even skulls. 
(NAN accepts the gift, laughing.) 

Emil. She'll enjoy punching your ears, then. She's never so 
happy as when she's overhauling her fellow-creatures and going for 
'em with a knife! 

Nan. Thanks, Emil. If I don't wear 'em, I'll hang 'em up 
instead of a shingle, outside my office. 

Emil. I've got a lot of plunder for you men, but I knew the 
girls would be a lot happier when I'd unloaded my cargo for 

Professor. (To Jo.) Veil, heart's dearest, vun of our boys ve 
haf again, and ve may rejoice greatly. 

Jo. And Emil is to be second mate next voyage. 

Emil. Only a matter of luck. Now tell me the news. 

Teddy. I'm likely to flunk out in my freshman examinations 
and bring disgrace on the college president, his famous frau, and 
the entire Plumfield household! 

(He twists himself into one of his favorite contortions, and 
they all laugh. ) 

Professor. (Shaking his head, but smiling affectionately at 
Teddy. ) My son, I haf fear, vill nef er be a scholar. But his wirtues 
he hass, all the same. 

Jo. Nan has won a fellowship at one of the greatest medical 
schools in America. 

Emil. May she find there all the tools she wants to saw bones 

Demi. Kitchen tools would be more suitable for a young lady, 
I think. 

Laurie. Poor fellow— your disease doesn't appear to be cura- 
ble, does it? 

(They all laugh, but not unkindly.) 

Bess. Josie has the main part in the play for Commencement, 
and Charlotte Cameron, the great actress, is coming to see it. 


Emil. {Striding down to Josie and putting his hand under her 
chin to lift her face so that he may look at her better.) How jolly! 
Our little Josie will be a great actress herself some day — and now 
that I look at the wench, I find that she's growing into an uncom- 
monly handsome woman! 

(Josie writhes at thus being classed as still a child; she rises 
haughtily and moves upstage toward the window seat. Emil 
is puzzled.) 
Professor. (Looking about the room, his face beaming with 
pleasure.) How blessed it iss to haf so many friends gathered here 
again, iss it not, heart's dearest? 
(He turns to Jo.) 
Jo. Yes, Fritz, and in our gratitude, let's gather about the piano 
for at least one good old song together. It's a family custom I don't 
want us to forget when one of our sheep returns to the fold. 
(The DOORBELL rings off L.) 
Laurie. Perhaps that's another prodigal. 
Teddy. I'll go, Mother. 
(He goes out U.L.) 
Laurie. (To Bess.) Come to the piano, my daughter. I want 
them to see how much you have improved in your playing. 

(He leads her to the piano, and the others move toward it. 
Teddy returns, holding a telegram in his hand. He wears a 
quizzical expression, for telegrams are not familiar experi- 
ences in his life. And they are always harbingers of evil. 
A look of consternation appears on every face.) 
Jo. A telegram! 
Teddy. (Taking it to her.) It's for you, Mother. 

(There is silence as Jo opens and reads the message.) 

Jo. (Speaking with difficulty.) It's Dan — he's hurt — a mine 


(She drops into the easy chair. Professor Bhaer bends 
over her anxiously.) 


Amy. Dan! Why we were talking about him just this after- 

Teddy. Dan — Mother, not Dan! Things just don't happen to 

Laurie. {Taking the telegram from her.) Here, Jo, let me 
see. (Reading.) "Daniel Kean badly hurt in fall a week ago. 
Still in grave danger. Today found your name in his papers. Twenty 
men saved through his heroic action." 

Jo. He must live! And he shall — and come home to be nursed 
just as soon as he can stir, if I go and bring him myself! 

Professor. Of course the boy vill live, dearest. 

Teddy. Do go for him, Mother, and take me with you! 

Laurie. Shall I go, Jo? I can go at once and see after him. 
If he's able, I'll bring him home. If not, I'll stay and look after him. 
He'll pull through. Dan will never die of a fall; he's got nine lives 
and not lost half of 'em yet. 

Teddy. May I go with you, Uncle Laurie? I'm just spoiling 
for a journey! And it would be such a lark to go with you! I want 
to see the mines and Dan, and hear all about it and help 

Jo. I can't spare you, Teddy. You always get into trouble unless 
I keep you close at home. Those reckless express trains always go 
down precipices and burn up or telescope. I hate to think of your 
going, Laurie. 

Meg. (Anxiously.) They say those fast trains go nearly forty 
miles an hour! 

Laurie. Oh, there's no need to worry about me. I shall get 
there safely enough. 

Amy. I shall go and begin packing your things, dear. Come 
with me, Bess. 

Demi. (Looking at his watch.) There isn't a train for two 
hours yet. 

Professor. Then there iss time yet to sing together as we were 

(Act I] JOS BOYS 35 

going to do. It will hearten thee for the anxious journey, and bind 
our souls together more strongly in hope and love. 

Laurie. You are right, Professor. Come back to the piano, 
Bess. You must be brave, too, my daughter, and pray for your old 

(He leads BESS back to the piano, and the others gather 
around, less joyously than when they were interrupted by 
the telegram. When Jo starts to rise from her chair, she 
gives a start, puts her hand to her heart, and sinks back into 
the chair weakly. The PROFESSOR sees her and bends over 
her anxiously.) 
Professor. Heart's dearest, vhat iss it? Vhat iss the matter? 

(The attention of the others is drawn to Jo.) 
Meg. Nan — where is your medicine kit? 

Amy. Jo — it's one of her spells again! The excitement 

Demi. I'll get water! 

(He runs out the door D.L. NAN has quickly opened her 
medicine kit and has taken some tablets from it. DEMI re- 
turns with the water, and NAN gives the tablets to Jo. MEG 
has been rubbing Jo's wrists.) 
Nan. (As she offers the tablets.) Here, take these, Aunt Jo. 
Professor. My dearest — do not be anxious about the lad. 
Jo. (Smiling weakly.) Now — it's nothing. . . . I'm — quite — 
all right. . . 

Nan. (Turning to the others.) She's better — nothing to worry 
about! She'll be quite all right now. 

Jo. Quite. Please go on with the singing. I'll sit here for a bit 
and listen. And sing something cheery — "Auld Lang Syne" perhaps. 
(Again they go to the piano. Professor Bhaer lingers be- 
side Jo, but she pats his hand reassuringly, and presently he 
joins the others. They sing "Auld Lang Syne" and as they 
are singing the second stanza, 


Act II, Scene 1 

It is a morning three weeks later. Bright sunlight streams in from 
the doors and windows at C. Jo, Professor Bhaer, and 
Teddy are finishing their breakfast at the table D.L. The 
Professor is reading a newspaper, pausing now and then 
to drink his coffee. There is a tall stack of letters beside Jo's 
plate. She has one, opened, in her hand, and there are sev- 
eral evidently already opened and read. TEDDY is helping 
her with her mail. 

Jo. I've made up my mind on one point. I will not answer this 
kind of letter. 

{She lays it doivn with a gesture of finality.} 

Teddy. What is it, Mother? 

Jo. I've sent at least six letters to this boy, and he probably 
sells 'em. 

Teddy. Finish your breakfast in peace, and I'll open the 

( Jo goes back to her coffee and roll, and Teddy begins open- 
ing letters.) 
Here's one from the South. 

{He breaks the imposing seal and reads.) 
"Madam: As it has pleased heaven to bless your efforts with a 
large fortune, I feel no hesitation whatever in asking you to supply 
funds to purchase a new communion-service for our church. To 
whatever denomination you belong, you will of course respond lib- 
erally to such a request as this. Respectfully yours, Mrs. X. Y. 
Zavier." Whew — such brass! 

Jo. Send a civil refusal, dear. The little I have to give must 
go to feed and clothe the poor at my doors. Go on. What's the 

[Act II, Scene 1] JO'S BOYS 37 

Professor. (Looking up.) How does Dan find himself this 
morning, dearest? 

Jo. He was feeling quite strong when I went in to see. He is 
recovering from the injury very fast, isn't he? 

Professor. {Reaching over to pat her arm affectionately.) He 
has had a faithful nurse, liebchen. 

( She smiles, and he returns to his paper. ) 

Teddy. (Reading the next letter.) Listen to this! A literary 
youth of eighteen proposes that you put your name to a novel 
which he has written. And after the first edition, your name is to 
be taken off and his put on. There's a cool and modest proposal 
for you. I guess you won't agree to that, in spite of your soft-heart- 
edness toward young scribblers. 

Jo. Couldn't be done. Tell him so, kindly, and don't let him 
send the manuscript! I have seven on hand now, and barely time 
to read my own. 

(She butters another piece of roll, while TEDDY opens an- 
other letter. Suddenly the door U.C. opens and JOSIE 
stands there, as fresh as the morning and twice as gay.) 

Josie. Good morning! Such a lazy family! 
(The Bhaers turn and see her.) 

Jo. Good morning, Josie. 

Professor. Thy cheeks haf bonny roses blooming in them this 
morning, Niece. 

(Josie comes down to R. of table.) 

Teddy. Bet there are briar thorns around somewhere ready to 
scratch! Want to go bicycling today, Jo? 

Josie. (With tremendous dignity.) I am getting too old for 
such tomboyish sports, thank you, Theodore. 

(Teddy laughs scornfully.) 
Besides, I shall be busy. Is Bess upstairs with Dan, Aunt Jo? Aunt 
Amy said she was here. 

38 ROW-PETERSON PLAYS [Act II, Scene 1} 

Jo. Yes, she took Dan's breakfast up to him. 

(JOSIE starts out U.L., but stops a moment uncertainly.) 

Josie. Is anybody else — is — is Emil with them? 

Jo. Why, no, dear. He isn't. He went out early this morning; 
said he'd get his coffee in town and have a look at the boat. 

Josie. Oh! Of course 

{She smiles a little lamely.) 

Teddy. {Looking up from the letter he has just opened.) Bet- 
ter wait and hear the famous scribbler's mash letters. Here's a fel- 
low wants to know what sort of girl he should marry and if Mother 
knows any like those in her stories! 

Josie. Give him Nan's address and see what he'll get! 

{She runs out and up the stairs.) 

Jo. What is that blotted one? It looks rather awful, to judge 
by the ink. 

Teddy. {Opening it.) It's a poem written to you! Listen 
to this! 

{He reads from the ink-smudged page.) 

"Oh, were I a heliotrope, 

I would play poet, 
And blow a breeze of fragrance 

To you; and none should know it. 

Your form like the stately elm 

When Phoebus gilds the morning ray; 
Your cheeks like the ocean bed 

That blooms a rose in May. 

Consider the lilies, how they grow; 

They toil not, yet are fair, 
Gems and flowers and Solomon's seal. 

The geranium of the world is Josephine Bhaer." 

[Act II, Scene 1] JO'S BOYS 39 

( Jo and Teddy laugh together at this effusion. ) 

Jo. The poor fellow must be insane. 

(During this time the Professor has been mainly ab- 
sorbed in his newspaper, glancing up now and then to listen 
to the letters or to sip his coffee. Now he turns a page of 
his paper, sees something which disgusts him, and throws 
the paper down on the table.) 

Professor. Ach! Vhy they print such trash I do not see! 

(Jo avoids his eyes and goes on quietly with her breakfast.) 

Teddy. Another story, Father? What's the title of this one? 

Professor. {With great disgust.) "The Purloined Secret: 
The Mystery of the Missing Mermaid." Such trash should not be 
offered so to young minds that haf not yet wisdom to choose vhat 
they read! 

Teddy. I've read some of 'em, Father. They aren't as bad as 
they sound — just silly. (To Jo.) You should hear the Professor 
when he gets started in philosophy class, Mother. 

Jo. Teddy! 

Teddy. Julie Thorpe — her father's the editor of the paper, 
and she knows Demi, too, and says her father has his eye on him — 
Julie said that her father said that the authoress of these stories is a 
woman who is suffering from a fatal disease of some kind and that 
she writes the tales to get money for treatments from a specialist. 
He told Julie 

Jo. Teddy — never mind that! It is likely a story the girl 
made up. 

Professor. (As he rises from the table.) Unless soon he 
stops using his paper for such things, I cancel my subscription to his 
paper. Excuse me, mein lieb. I must hurry to the college, for much 
vork I haf today. 

(He hurries into the study D.R. Jo also rises.) 

Jo. Gather up the rest of those letters and put them some- 

40 ROW-PETERSON PLAYS {Act II, Scene 1] 

where, Teddy. I haven't the patience to finish them now. I think 
I'll dust a bit down here and then go to my work. 

(PROFESSOR BHAER comes out of the study, books 
bulging from his brief case and his pockets. He comes to 
Jo and kisses her.) 
Professor. I hope the day vill go veil vith thee, my dearest. 
I vill dine at college vith Professor Plock, who is to visit us today. 
Send Ted down to us, and thou shalt have a quiet time. 
Jo. Thank you, dear. Good-bye. 

{He exits U.L.) 
Teddy. Must I go now, Mom? 

Jo. Not yet. Mary will be late coming this morning, and you 
must help me take the dishes into the kitchen and tidy up a bit 
here. If the bell rings, you go and say that I'm not seeing anyone. 
I won't see Queen Victoria herself if she comes today! 

Teddy. Now, come, Mrs. Bhaer — do see the good queen! 
(Plaintively.) She's not so young as she used to be, you know, and 
she's come a frightfully long way — all across the ocean. 

Jo. (Giving him a playful push.) Don't be impertinent, sir! 
Take some of those dishes into the kitchen, and bring me the 

(Teddy picks up some of the dishes and goes into the 
kitchen D.L. Jo arranges the pillows at the window seats. 
She looks out the window and backs away quickly as 
TEDDY re-enters bearing a feather duster.) 
There's an artist out there sketching on the lawn. If he decides to 
come in, remember I'm not seeing anyone. Give me that duster. 

(She takes the duster and goes to work on the mantelpiece. 
Teddy takes more dishes to the kitchen, whistling gaily, and 
returns. ) 

Teddy. (As he returns from a trip to the kitchen.) Mother, 
I want a bicycle of my own. 

Jo. You'd fall and break your neck. Walking or riding behind 

[Act II, Scene 1} JO'S BOYS 41 

a good horse is fast enough locomotion for a son of mine. 

(The DOORBELL rings off L.) 
You go — and remember that I'm not receiving callers. 

(She dusts the books in the case above the desk, her back 
turned to the arch U.L., where Teddy exits.) 
Mrs. Parmalee. (Off L.) Ain't this where dear Aunt Jo 
lives, son? 

Teddy. (Off L.) Why — er — yes, it is; but she isn't at home. 
Mrs. Parmalee. You just tell her we're all the way from Osh- 
kosh and couldn't go home without seein' dear Aunt Jo. My girls 
just admire her works so and are set on gettin' a sight o' her. I 
know it's early in the day, but we're goin' to see Holmes and Long- 
feller and the rest o' the celebrities, so we ran out here fust thing. 
Mrs. Erastus Kingsbury Parmalee of Oshkosh, tell her. We don't 
mind waitin; we can look around for a spell if she ain't ready to 
see folks yet. 

(And before Teddy can increase the strength of his defense, 
her two adolescent daughters, ESMERALDA and AN- 
NABELLA, have pressed past him and have entered the 
room, gazing rapturously about them. MRS. PARMALEE looks 
just as one would expect — very stout, with a reddish face, 
and attired in the latest fashion, that is, as far as Oshkosh 
would know about fashions. ESMERALDA, the elder daughter, 
is very plain and thin and wears spectacles. She moves awk- 
wardly, catching her toe in the rug and bumping against 
furniture. Annabella is shorter and plump, and given to 
giggling. TEDDY follows them into the room.) 
Teddy. (Entering.) Mrs. Bhaer is not visible today — out just 
now, I believe. But you can see the grounds if you like. 

(Jo has her back to the intruders, and is dusting the desk 
with unusual industry.) 
Mrs. Parmalee. Oh, thank you — thank you. Sweet, pretty 
place. Are you her son? I know you must be! 

42 ROW-PETERSON PLAYS [Act II, Scene 1] 

Teddy. Why — uh — you see, I am an orphan she picked up 

and took care of. A foundling, you know. 

(He glances at Jo's back and gets a mischievous pleasure 
out of the start she gives. He is further inspired.) 

That is, I was — uh — half an orphan, and she took both my mother 

and me in and gave us a home. My mother is the maid here; that 

is she over there dusting. 

(Jo turns quickly, but decides that she must delay punish- 
ment if she is to be saved from the Parmalees, and re- 
sumes her dusting. MRS. Parmalee turns her eyes upon the 
"maid" whom the kind author has befriended, as do ES- 
MERALDA,, who has been staring open-mouthed at the ob- 
jects in the room, and ANNABELLA, who twists her ring and 
giggles at each remark that is made. ) 

Mrs. Parmalee. Is she 

Teddy. {Pointing to his ears.) She is deaf. Stone deaf. She 

doesn't hear a word we're saying. Poor thing — you see her husband 

used to beat her, and that's why Mrs. Bhaer took her in and gave 

her a home. 

Mrs. Parmalee. Poor, poor dear! 

(She sniffles and wipes the back of her hand across her 
nose. ) 

Now ain't that jes' too good of dear Aunt Jo to take in a miserable 

critter like that and give her a home. 

(There is nothing for the harassed authoress now but to 
enact the role Teddy has created for her; she moves toward 
the table D.L., as MRS. PARMALEE gazes at her, shaking her 
head in pity for the poor "critter," and the two daughters 
stare at Jo open-mouthed. Teddy turns away to conceal his 
mirth. ) 
Annabella. Cain't she hear nothin' we say, Ma? 
Mrs. Parmalee. Hush, Annabella! No, she cain't; she's deef, 

poor thing! 

(Jo begins to gather up the dishes remaining on the table, 

[Act II, Scene 1] JO'S BOYS 43 

ivith evident intent of escaping to the kitchen. MRS. PARMA- 
lee turns to Teddy as she indicates the door D.R.) 
Is that the study where she writes, in there? Do give us one peep 
into her sanctum, since she is out! 

Teddy. (Crossing to the door, opening it, and indicating its 
interior with a sweeping gesture.) This, madam, is where her 
genius burns! 

Mrs. Parmalee. (In great awe, as she gazes into the room.) 
Girls, there is the spot where she wrote those sweet, those moral 
tales which have thrilled us to the soul! (To Teddy.) Could my 
daughter Esmeralda go in and take one morsel of paper, an old pen, 
a postage stamp even, as a memento of this gifted woman? 

(Jo has gathered up the dishes, but, believing herself now 
safe from recognition, has paused in the doorway D.L. to 
hear this eloquent tribute to her talents. ) 

Teddy. (Solemnly, with another grand gesture.) Esmeralda 
may enter and choose her memento. 

(He motions for Esmeralda to enter, the girl stands a 
moment in awkward silence, then goes into the study. ) 
Mrs. Parmalee. (Sighing.) If only my Esmeralda will fol- 
low in her footsteps! Annabella, you can be the one to get the 
souvenirs from Longfeller, and then we call on Emerson and 


(At that moment, ESMERALDA reenters, in her hand 
Amy's drawing of Jo, and on her face the light of a great 
discovery. She holds the picture out to her mother and 
points toward Jo, who makes a hasty retreat to the kitchen 
as soon as she realizes what has happened.) 

Esmeralda. Ma! It's Mrs. Bhaer herself! That's her! This 
is her picture, an' it has her name on it! 

(Mrs. Parmalee blinks at the picture, and turns to com- 
pare it with the original — but Jo has vanished. ) 
Mrs. Parmalee. Why — why, bless me, so it is! 

44 ROW-PETERSON PLAYS [Act II, Scene 1} 

(Teddy looks about for escape, but can't decide which way 
to go.) 
Now, ain't that queer! I declare I don't know what to think. 

(She turns upon Teddy who is rooted to the spot and at his 
wit's end.) 
Annabella. But that cain't be her, Ma. That's the maid. He 
said so. 

(Teddy shakes his head in a violent affirmative and grins 
inanely. The poor Parmalees stand in mute bewilderment. 
Suddenly Jo dashes in D.L. She has stuck a bonnet on her 
head at a most surprising angle, and has thrown a shawl 
about her shoulders. She stops in apparent surprise at seeing 
the visitors. They stare at her in open-mouthed contusion.) 
Jo. (Briskly.) Oh — how do you do? I'm Mrs. Bhaer — Jose- 
phine Bhaer. Did you wish to see me, madam? Sorry to have been 
out when you came. I just came in through the kitchen. What 
may I do for you? Are these charming young ladies your daugh- 
ters? Would you like for me to autograph your albums and give 
you a few mementoes for your scrapbooks? 

(MRS. Parmalee doesn't understand the mystery, but de- 
cides to accept it as simply one of the vagaries of a celeb- 
rity. ) 
Mrs. Parmalee. Are you — well, I declare! We thought you 

was — he said you was 

(She points to the shrinking TEDDY.) 

Jo. He? Oh, Teddy. Why, you see he is (She taps her 

forehead significantly.) We dropped him when he was a baby. 
( Esmeralda and Annabella steal apprehensive glances at 

He's perfectly harmless — wouldn't hurt a flea — but just not quite 

bright, you know. 

(This revenge is too much for Teddy's long-repressed mirth, 
and he runs for the kitchen D.L. MRS. Parmalee and her 
Daughters look after him curiously and pityingly.) 

[Act II, Scene l] JO'S BOYS 45 

Mrs. Parmalee. {Sympathetically.) What a pity! He looks 
right bright, too. I always give thanks that my two girls — this is 
Esmeralda, she's the oldest — and this one's Annabella — I was sayin 
I always give thanks that they was always so bright and pert. But 
you never can tell. Now, when Annabella was little 

Jo. Wouldn't you like to go down to the college and look 
about there? 

Mrs. Parmalee. We know you're busy, but we just wanted to 
see dear Aunt Jo and tell you we do admire your works so. If you 
ever come to Oshkosh, your feet won't be allowed to touch the pave- 
ment; for you'll be borne in the arms of the populace, we'll be so 
dreadful glad to see you. 

Jo. That will be — uh — most kind, I'm sure. 

Mrs. Parmalee. Well, come along, girls. We must be gettin' 
along if we're to call on Longfeller and Holmes and the rest this 
morning. But I just must tell you 

Jo. (Politely, but firmly.') If you want to go out this way 

"3J3IJ UIOJI 3§3JJO0 9tp 93S UBD UOX 'U9pJB^ 3qj ugriOJtp pUB 

(She goes to the doors U.C. and opens them invitingly. 
MRS. Parmalee looks about her regretfully and prepares 
to depart, ushering her two daughters before her. Esmer- 
alda starts out, then discovers that the picture of Jo is still 
in her hand. She is startled, and a frown of great perplexity 
is on her face as she looks from the portrait to Jo. She 
slowly goes down to the table and places the drawing there, 
and rejoins her mother and sister.) 
Mrs. Parmalee. Well, good-bye. We must be gettin along if 
we're to call on the others before noon, an' we set our minds on 
seein' all the celebrities before we go back to Oshkosh. I declare, 

back in Oshkosh 

(She has turned back, and appears to be ready to prolong 
her visit indefinitely; but Teddy's tousled head suddenly ap- 
pears in the doorway D.L., as he peeps in warily to see if 
the coast is clear. The daughters see him and scramble out 

46 ROW-PETERSON PLAYS [Act II, Scene 1] 

in fright, urging their mother along with them. She waves 
her hand as if it were a handkerchief. ) 
Good-bye — Good-bye! Come and see us in Oshkosh! 

{Her voice trails off as her daughters propel her out of 

sight. Jo sinks onto the sofa in relief, as TEDDY comes 

from the kitchen.) 

Jo. You villain! How did you ever think up such awful fibs? 

Teddy. {Tweaking her nose and then dropping a kiss on the 

Up of it.) I get my talent from my mother — who dropped me on 

my head when I was a baby. 

Jo. I hope we shall be forgiven our sins in this line, but I 
don't know what is to become of us if this sort of thing keeps on. 
Teddy. It was fun, though. What a jolly play we could write 
together, Mrs. Bhaer! And act it all ourselves! 

{He stretches out his arms and declaims melodramatically.) 
Mother! My devoted mother who left me on a doorstep at the ten- 
der age of one and a half! At last I've found you! 

{He clasps her in his arms, and they laugh merrily.) 
Jo. {Seriously.) But we mustn't be guilty of such deceit 
again, Teddy. I shall have to lock myself in my room upstairs and 
turn this into a public museum with you for guide, I suppose. 
This seems to be the price one pays for a little fame. 

{There is the sound of feet RUNNING downstairs, and 
JOSIE rushes in at the arch U.L.) 
Josie. Dan wants to come down, Aunt Jo! He's feeling strong 
as a Comanche today and doesn't want to stay upstairs another 

Teddy. {Already on his ivay to the stairs.) I'll fetch him! 
Jo. That is splendid. Bring him along, Teddy. 
(Teddy disappears upstairs.) 
But you and Bess must take care of him, for I'm going into the 
study and write. 

Josie. Of course we will. Bess has got to be a perfectly splen- 

[Act II, Scene 1] JO'S BOYS 47 

did nurse, and I amuse him by acting out parts in plays. Isn't it 
funny, Aunt Jo — Dan likes Romeo and Juliet best of all, when 
you'd think he would want something roaring with Indians and 
fighting and robbers and things! 

Jo. Underneath Dan's rough exterior is a heart that is tender 
as a woman's. That is often true of people, Josie, and we cannot 
judge them wisely just by appearance. 

Josie. I know that, Auntie, and that's one reason why I've 
wanted to be an actress; because to act parts you have to do more 
than just look like the person — you have to know how he feels 
and thinks on the inside. 

Jo. {Looking at her approvingly.) You are quite right, my 
dear. And an actress who can do that is a great woman as well as 
a great artist. 

Josie. Do you think I might be a great actress some day? 

Jo. That is a hard question to answer, Josie. Perhaps you'd 
better wait and see how Charlotte Cameron answers it. 

Josie. It is only three weeks now till the play! I can hardly 
wait. What if I get stagefright knowing that she is in the audience, 
Aunt Jo? I would just die, and the play would be ruined. 

Jo. {Smiling.) That would be real tragedy, wouldn't it? But 
you won't be afraid. 

Josie. Aunt Jo, there is something I want to ask you — some- 
thing dreadfully important 

{There is the sound of VOICES and STEPS off L.) 
They are coming now, so I'll have to wait, but I must talk to you. 

Jo. Very well, dear. 

{Down the stairs and through the arch U.L. comes DAN, 
leaning on a cane and supported on the other side by 
TEDDY. BESS is just behind them, with a blanket on 
her arm. DAN is tall and dark, with a ruggedness sugges- 
tive of the great Western outdoors, in spite of his illness.) 

48 ROW-PETERSON PLAYS [Act II, Scene 1} 

Bess. (As they are entering.) The hollyhocks are beginning 
to bloom in the garden, Dan. 

Teddy. We'll take him out there as soon as he's rested here 
a bit. 

(Josie has placed the pillows comfortably on the couch, and 
Teddy helps Dan to recline there. Both girls hover about, 
but it is Bess whom Dan's eyes follow as if he could never 
get enough of looking at her.) 

Josie. He's almost well, isn't he, Aunt Jo? 

Jo. He's doing splendidly. Well enough, I believe, that we 
can have the commencement ball here at Plumfield after all. 

Josie. Oh, Auntie — how jolly! 

Bess. Really, Aunt Jo? 

Jo. It is to be next week, you know. Think you could dance 
about and pay court to the ladies by then, Dan? 

Dan. By then I could dance a jig and court a dozen ladies all 
at once! 

Josie. That's a simply wonderful idea, Aunt Jo! And Dan can 
dress up in his Mexican caballeros and sombreros and navajos and 
things, and all the girls will fall in love with him! 

(There is general amusement at Josie 's Spanish. Bess is 
tucking the blanket about Dan's shoulders.) 

Teddy. Huh! What should Dan care about women! He's 
lived with Indians, and he's mined gold and hunted outlaws and 
ridden all the way from California on a train that goes nearly forty 
miles an hour. What use has he got for women? I'm surprised he 
lets a girl take care of him and mollycoddle him with blankets and 

Dan. Even Chief Fire-Cloud would be glad to have such a nurse 
as the Princess, old fellow. 

Josie. Teddy would be glad to have a girl look after him, only 
he won't own it. He says women shouldn't be given the right to 
vote and that they aren't as intelligent as men. Why, the other day 

[Act II, Scene 1] JO'S BOYS 49 

when we were pegging away at the Iliad and came to where Zeus 
tells Juno not to inquire into his plans or he'll whip her, Teddy 


(In her growing ardor, Josie is shaking her head more em- 
phatically. ) 
Teddy. (Interrupting.) If you shake your head in that vio- 
lent way, you'll addle what brains you've got; and I'd take care of 
'em if I were you! 

(Josie looks as if she were ready to pounce upon him, but 
just then the sound of EMIL'S VOICE in song is heard 
off L.. Josie stops in consternation and in great haste at- 
tempts to smooth her ruffled hair and rumpled clothes. She 
hurries over to the window U.L, and there assumes a lan- 
guid and sorrowful pose, gazing out the window as if in 
deep meditation. Only Jo takes notice of this strange be- 
havior, for DAN is saying something in a low tone to Bess, 
and at the first sound of Emil's song, Teddy starts out U.L., 
stops, turns back to the others.) 
It's the Commodore! 

(And Teddy dashes out to greet him.) 

Jo. Take care of Dan and entertain him and Emil, girls. I 
shall be irr the study if you need me. But do try to keep out the 
souvenir collectors. I must write this morning. 

Bess. We'll take care of them — and the curious visitors, too, 

(She sits in the easy chair. ) 

Jo. I'll see Emil later. 

( She goes into the study, D.R. ) 

Bess. (To Dan.) Isn't it dear of Aunt Jo to have the ball 
here so that you may enjoy it? 

Dan. Would you miss me if I were not there, Princess? 

(His tone is light, but there is an unmistakable note of ten- 
derness in it.) 

50 ROW-PETERSON PLAYS {Act II, Scene 1] 

Bess. {Simply.) Of course. We all would miss you. 

(As Emil's voice has come nearer, Teddy has joined him 
in his song. Hearing steps at the outside door, off L., JOSIE 
has darted a quick eager glance through the arch, but has 
then immediately resumed her pose at the window. Now 
EMIL and TEDDY swing into the room from U.L., arms 
about each other's shoulders, finishing the song just after 
they enter. They pause just inside the arch. ) 
Emil. (Sweeping off his cap.) The top of the morning to 

you, ladies! Hallo — our hero is downstairs early today. 

(Bess has smiled her usual gentle smile, but JOSIE appears 
oblivious to the newcomer and the events going on about 
her. Emil walks across the room to DAN as he speaks to 
him, then leans against the mantelpiece. Teddy sprawls on 
the piano bench. ) 
Dan. Not such a hero, Emil; anybody else would have done 

just what I did. 

Teddy. But it was you who thought quickly enough to do it! 
Why, if it hadn't been for you, twenty women out West would be 
without husbands right now, and a hundred children — maybe more, 
Lord bless 'em — would be fatherless! I guess you're our hero here 
at Plumfield, all right. 

Bess. Dan is so well that Aunt Jo said the commencement ball 
might be held here at Plumfield. 

Emil. That's jolly! It will be great larks to squire the ladies 

round again! 

(JOSIE has stolen occasional glances over her shoulder, but 
to no avail. She tries sighing, and now a very deep and soul- 
shuddering sigh does attract the attention of the others.) 

Great Scott! What's the matter with Josie? 

Teddy. Juliet's in her tomb again. 

(Josie flashes him an indignant look and sighs again deeply. 
Emil strides over to her, takes her by the shoulders, and 

[Act II, Scene 1] JO'S BOYS 51 

shakes her lightly. She yields to him limply, turning to him 
with her eyes wide and alluring, her lips parted in a half- 
smile. ) 
Emil. Come out of the trance, Josie! The play hasn't begun 
yet, child. 

{She turns away from him and back to the window in sor- 
rowful silence. Teddy gets up and drapes himself against the 
piano in a caricature of Jqsie's pose.) 
Teddy. {Melodramatically.) Rebuke me not, Claudius, and 
come not near unto me, for my soul is sick unto death! 

{He suddenly loses his balance and slips upon the piano 
keys, making a terrific crash. They all laugh — even JOSIE, 
though she quickly suppresses her amusement to resume her 
melancholy mien.) 
Dan. You shouldn't tease her, Teddy. 

Emil. You'll be hitting the trail again as soon as Aunt Jo will 
let you cut loose from your moorings, I suppose, Dan. What's to be 
your next adventure? 

Teddy. He's going back to the Indians in Montana, and I'm 
going along! Shall I bring you a squaw, Commodore? 

Emil. A fancy set of scalps would be more to my fancy. Are 
you really going back to the redskins, Dan? 

Dan. I have a strong leaning toward my old friends. The Mon- 
tanas are a peaceful tribe and need help awfully. Hundreds of 'em 
have died of starvation because they didn't stick up for their rights. 
The Sioux are fighters, thirty thousand strong, so the Government 
is afraid of 'em and gives 'em all they want. I call that a damned 

{He stops short, as the expletive slips out, but his eyes flash, 
and he goes on, so much in earnest that he sits up and 
swings his feet to the floor.) 
It is just that, and I won't beg pardon, even of you, Princess! 
Emil. But what can you do about them, Dan? 

52 ROW-PETERSON PLAYS [Act II, Scene 1] 

Dan. If I'd had any money I'd have given it to the poor devils, 
cheated out of everything and waiting patiently, after being driven 
from their land to places where nothing will grow. Honest govern- 
ment agents could do a lot, and I've a feeling I ought to go and 
give 'em a hand. I know their lingo, and I like 'em. I've got a few 
thousand now, and I ain't sure I've got any right to spend it on 
myself and settle down to enjoy it. 

Teddy. Do it, do it! And take me along to help! I'm just 
raging to get among those fine fellows and hunt. 

Emil. Sounds like a pretty hard vessel for one man to take 

Dan. There's another plan I've had up my sleeve. I have a 
notion to try farming in the West. It's grand when it's on a large 
scale. And I feel as if steady work would be rather jolly after loafing 
around so long. I tried sheep farming in Australia. 

Teddy. Since I'm a black sheep anyway, Mother 'd be sure to 
let me go with you, then! 

(Once more the DOOR off L. is heard to open. This time it 
is NAN, who enters, looking fresh and brisk as usual, with 
her medicine kit in her hand. ) 
Nan. Good morning, everybody! 
(They greet her.) 

Teddy. Dan is just telling us about the farm 

(He is interrupted by DEMI'S entrance, U.L. He is puff- 
ing and panting for breath.) 
Demi. Nan, I ran all the way up the hill trying to catch up 
with you! Didn't you hear me hullo? 

Nan. Of course. But I knew you'd catch up by and by. (To 
DAN. ) What's this about a farm? 

Dan. Only a pipe dream of mine, Nan. A big farm out in 

(She sits down at L. of the table. Emil and Teddy wander 
about, sitting down only to jump up restlessly. JOSIE is still 

[Act II, Scene 1] JO'S BOYS 53 

at the window U.L. She has sat down on the window seat, 
but is still languorous and tragic. Demi hovers about NAN, 
much to her annoyance.) 
Teddy. I'm to herd the sheep and keep off the Indians! 
Demi. You go out and start a new town, Dan, and when the 
rest of us are ready to swarm, we'll come out to you and settle there. 
You will want a newspaper very soon, and I like the idea of run- 
ning one myself much better than grinding away as I do now. 
Bess. Is there any art there? 

Dan. Plenty of nature, and that's a lot better. You'd find splen- 
did horses to model, and scenery such as you never saw in your 
mouldy old Rome to paint. Even pumpkins grow big and beautiful 
out there. You could play Cinderella in one of 'em, Josie! 

(JOSIE has heard enough to fire her interest. She discards 
her role of tragic muse and comes toward DAN.) 
Josie. Oh, when are you going to do it, Dan? May I have my 
own theatre and do nothing but tragedies? You could name the 
town — let's see — Thespian City or, maybe, Hamlet. 

Teddy. Why, the town will be Dansviile, and Dan will be 

Nan. I speak for the medical practice in the new town, Dan. 
Teddy. Dan isn't going to allow any women under forty in 
his place. He doesn't like 'em. 

Nan. That won't affect me, because doctors are exceptions to 
all rules. There won't be much sickness in Dansviile; every one 
will lead such active, wholesome lives, and only energetic young 
people will go there. But accidents are sure to happen, what with 
wild cattle, fast riding, Indian scrimmages, and the recklessness of 
Western life. That will just suit me. I long for broken bones — 
and I get so few here. 

Dan. You may come, Doctor. I'll send for you just as soon as 
I have a roof to cover you. I'll scalp a few red fellows or smash up 
a dozen cowboys for your special benefit. 

54 ROW-PETERSON PLAYS [Act II, Scene 1] 

Demi. She'll have to be a respectable married woman with a 
husband to protect her, won't she, Dan? 

Nan. No, thanks, I'll do my own protecting and shan't be both- 
ered with a husband hovering around and getting in my way! 

Teddy. Demi can be the undertaker as well as the newspaper 
editor. He'll enjoy burying the patients Nan kills, and writing their 
obituaries. Tell us more about the farm, Dan. 

Bess. Let's go out into the garden. Dan needs the fresh air 
and can tell us about the new town there. 

Teddy. (Going to T> AN.) Here's my strong right arm, Mayor! 
(He assists DAN as they prepare to go out U.C., followed 
by Bess with the blanket. NAN rises.) 
Nan. I'd like to hear more about the West, but I must see 
Aunt Jo, if she'll let me interrupt her work. 
Teddy. She's in the study, Nan. 

Demi. I'll wait and take you to the office on my bicycle. 
Nan. Thanks— I'll walk. 

Demi. (Following her to the door D.R.) Come, Nan — you 
know jolly well you can't go on treating me this way forever. You 
might as well give in soon as late. 

(She closes the door behind her. He turns disconsolately and 
follows the others out U.C. Emil, laughing at this perpetual 
warfare, is about to exit when he notices that JOSIE has 
waited behind, again at the tvindow U.L.) 
Emil. Coming, Josie? Or waiting for the fairy godmother? 
(She does not answer but continues to stare at nothing, the 
very symbol of futility. He goes to her.) 
What has happened to my little cockboat that always rode the high 
waves with her flags a-flying in the wind? Come on, Josie, smile 
a bit! 

(He chucks her under the chin, and she turns away with a 
gesture of outraged dignity.) 
Don't you want to come out into the garden with the others? 

[Act II, Scene 1] JOS BOYS 55 

Josie. I am waiting for Aunt Jo. She and I — we have a very 
important matter to discuss. 

Emil. Oh, I see. Well, so long. 

(And he goes out U.C., with an anxious glance back at her 
from the doorway. As soon as he is out the door Josie turns 
quickly and runs to the door and stands looking after him. 
She sighs wistfully, and then begins to speak Juliet's lines.) 
Josie. "Romeo, O Romeo. . . . 

Love's heralds should be thoughts, 
Which ten times faster glide than the sun's beams, 
Driving back shadows over lowering hills: 
Therefore do nimble-pinion'd doves draw love, 
And therefore hath the wind-swift Cupid wings." 

(She starts, and stops speaking abruptly when JO and 
NAN enter, goes over to the desk U.R., and pretends to be 
looking at a book. Jo and NAN do not notice her.) 
Jo. (As she and NAN enter.) But they all need so much look- 
ing after and comforting for their little heartaches. My adopted 
family is quite a large one, remember, and not many of the others 
can take care of themselves as well as you, my dear. 

Nan. Yes, but you must think of yourself, Aunt Jo. Well, I 
shall stop by the hospital to report to Dr. Conrad. Good-bye. 
Jo. Good-bye, Nan. 

Nan. I am warning you again, you must take more rest. That 
heart of yours won't stand much, you know. 

Jo. (Lightly.) Don't worry about me, Nan. But I shall take 
your advice. Good-bye. 

(NAN exits U.L. Jo follows her to the door, then turns 
back and sees JOSIE. ) 
Well, Josie, you forsook the patient? 

Josie. He has plenty of nurses without me. I — do you have 
time to talk just a little while, Aunt Jo? You remember what we 
were saying before the others came in. . . 

56 ROW-PETERSON PLAYS [Act II, Scene 1] 

Jo. Of course, my dear. Let's sit down. Let me get my mend- 
ing. I can sew while we talk. 

(She crosses to get her darning basket from the desk U.R., 
and then sits in the easy chair. She smiles up at Josie en- 
couragingly. ) 

Josie. Mind if I stand up? I — I can think better. 

Jo. (Smiling.) So could I when I was your age. 

Josie. (Earnestly.) You — I am a great deal like you were 
when you were young, aren't I, Aunt Jo? Everybody tells me so, 
and Grandfather March always called me "Little Jo." 

Jo. I'm afraid you are just that unfortunate, dear. 

Josie. Oh, I'm glad. It makes me feel proud to think I am like 
you. And that is why, too, I wanted to talk to you — because I 
thought, being like you, you could remember how you felt and 
would understand what I say. 

(She is standing between Jo and the table D.L.) 

Jo. You may be sure I'll try to. Still want to talk about the 

Josie. Yes, that and — and something else. (Turning impetu- 
ously to face Jo.) Aunt Jo, why does everyone act as if I were 
still a child? Why can't they see that I'm grown up and have feel- 
ings like a grown-up person? Why must everyone treat me like a 

Jo. (Carefully concealing any amusement she feels.) Who 
treats you like a child, Josie? 

Josie. Oh, Teddy does, and Mother and Demi and . . . and 

(She turns aivay and bites her lower lip to keep it from 
trembling. ) 

Jo. Oh, I see. . . . Well, mothers and older brothers always want 
to keep little girls to pet and scold, don't you think? And Teddy is 
still such a child himself he can't realize that his favorite cousin anr 1 

[Act II, Scene 1] JO'S BOYS 57 

playfellow has grown up into a young lady. And as for Emil — 
well. . . 

Josie. He's the worst of all! He acts as if he were a million 
years older than me, when he's really only twenty-three, and I'm 
eighteen— well, practically eighteen. He teases me and calls me 
"little cockboat" and has no respect for me at all. And he thinks 
that horrid Miss Dunbar is a perfect lady. He said so. 
(Her voice almost breaks.) 

Jo, (Watching her closely.) Well, you shouldn't worry about 
that. He will be gone back to sea very soon, and 

Josie. (Interrupting.) When is he going? He won't tell me. 

Jo. His ship sails in about three weeks, I believe. 

(Josie has her back to Jo and is nervously twisting a cor- 
ner of the table cloth. ) 
Then you won't be annoyed by him, and you can go on with your 
acting and forget him, for he may be gone a long time — possibly 
a year. 

Josie. (In a muffled voice.) Yes, I — I know. 

Jo. Did Uncle Laurie tell you that Miss Cameron is to stay 
overnight with them at Parnassus after the play, and that you are 
to interview her the next morning? If she says you have real talent, 
your mother will consent for you to study for the stage, I am sure. 
How exciting it would be to have a great actress in the family! 

Josie. (Sighing.) I suppose I'd have to then, wouldn't I? . . . 
I mean, that would be wonderful, wouldn't it? But, Aunt Jo, do you 
think a woman is ever happy with a career? I mean — well, you're 
a famous writer, but you've got the Professor and Teddy, too. 

Jo. (Seriously.) I understand what you mean, Josie, and I 
imagine we agree on this, too. My scribbling has brought me great 
joy as well as a little fame and a little money; but it alone could not 
have made me happy, I fear. No woman's life is complete without 
a husband and children, no matter what success the world may lay 
at her feet. I believe that will be true for you, Josie, and that some- 

58 ROW-PETERSON PLAYS [Act II, Scene 1] 

day, even though you may be a famous actress, you will find someone 
you will love and want to marry. 

(There is a little silence. JOSIE is still turned away from Jo, 
but now she turns toward her impulsively. ) 
Josie. Aunt Jo, if I told you something — something dreadfully 
important, would you keep it and not call me a silly child? I 


{But she is interrupted by EMIL'S footstep and voice as 
he approaches U.C., and stands in the doorway there. Josie 
is startled and confused. ) 
Emil. Beg pardon for interrupting this weighty conference, 
dear ladies, but Bess insists that it is time for Dan to imbibe an- 
other glass of milk, and sent me for it. Of course, I could have gone 
straight to the kitchen, but I thought I'd peep in and see if little 
spitfire had changed her mind about the garden. 
(He looks toward Josie quizzically.) 
Josie. I'll take the milk to Dan. 

( Without ivaiting for an answer, she darts out D.L. Emil 
looks after her in perplexity, but Jo smiles as if she under- 
Emil. (Shaking his head in a puzzled manner.) She hates me, 
doesn't she, Auntie? Acts as if I'd got the plague. I used to think 
I was her favorite hero. 

Jo. Perhaps she doesn't like your treating her as if she were 
still a child, Emil. She isn't, you know. 

Emil. (Gravely.) No, I know she isn't. But I — well, I guess 
I felt safer treating her as if she were still a child. 
Jo. "Safer?" Whatever do you mean, Emil? 

Emil. (Suddenly as impulsive as Josie.) You'll think me the 
craziest Jack that ever lived to sail the seven seas, but — I believe 
I'll tell you anyway. It's that — well, I'm in love with her, Aunt Jo. 
With Josie. Can you imagine that? 

Jo. How long have you known this, Emil? 

[Act II, Scene 1] JO'S BOYS 59 

Emil. Months. Somehow, when you're out on a ship with 
nothing but the blue water all about you, and dropping anchor only 
at strange foreign ports, you get to probing down into your own 
heart as you maybe never did before; and sometimes you find out 
queer things about yourself. Well, without my realizing for a long 
time just what it meant, I kept seeing Josie in my mind's eye, and 
hearing her voice and remembering things she'd said. But I knew 
jolly well there wasn't a chance of her feeling the same way about 
me, so since I've been back at Plumneld, I've tried to go on acting 
as if everything was as it used to be. But not only is her whole heart 
set on being an actress and going on the stage, but she seems to have 
taken a violent dislike for me — acts as if I were smallpox — so I 
guess the sooner I sheer off, the better. 

(Emil has been walking about between the easy chair where 
Jo is and the table D.L., but now throws himself into the 
chair at R. of the table. ) 

Jo. I shouldn't rush away too fast if I were you. Nor should 
I be in too great a hurry to make up my mind about Josie. Al- 
though she is no longer a child, she is still quite young, you know, 
and may not yet know her own mind and feelings. 

Emil. I'd feel as if I were leaving port with a little fairer 
weather if only she didn't seem to think I was a — a nor'easter. 

Jo. Don't be impatient, dear. Life has a way of working out 
the greatest happiness for all of us, if we do our part well and have 

Emil. You are a great fellow, Aunt Jo. If you ever decide to 
stop being a landlubber, I'll take you round the world. When I 
have a ship of my own it is to be christened the "Jolly Jo," and 
you must come on as first mate. It would be regular larks to have 
you aboard. 

Jo. I'll make my first voyage with you and enjoy myself im- 
mensely in spite of seasickness and all the stormy winds that blow. 
I've always thought I'd like to see a wreck, a nice safe one with all 

60 ROW-PETERSON PLAYS [Act II, Scene 1] 

saved after great danger and heroic deeds, while we clung like Mr. 
Pillicoddy to maintop, jibs, and lee scuppers. 

Emil. No wrecks yet, ma'am, but we try to accommodate pas- 
sengers. Captain says that I'm a lucky dog and bring fair weather, 
but we'll save the dirty weather for you if you want it. 

(TEDDY'S VOICE is heard offstage R., and in a mo- 
ment he appears at the door U.C.) 

Teddy. Mother! Oh, Mother! More tourists! 
{He dashes into the room.) 

I say, there's a whole van of people coming up the street! You'd 

better escape while you can! 

(Jo has jumped to her feet as soon as she has realized the 
news he has brought. The darning basket is knocked to 
the floor, and its contents scatter about. She stoops to pick 
them up, but things obstinately slip from her fingers.) 

Jo. Oh, dear, I'll never get any work done! 

{She, Teddy, and Emil are trying with vain effect and much 
bumping of heads to pick up the errant spools and socks. 

Laughingly. ) 

You pick up the darning, and tell my devoted public that I'm 
busy — or something! I'm going upstairs to work. Keep them out, 

{She hurries out U.L. and up the stairs. JOS IE comes in 


Josie. {Calling as she enters.) Aunt Jo — there's a crowd of 
people coming from the college, besides those in the van! 

Teddy. I shall protect the poor lady — at the risk of my life! 

(Teddy runs out U.L. to keep vigil at the street door. Emil 
is still pursuing the spools of thread, and JOSIE stoops to help 
him. They get tangled in the thread and get in each other's 
way. The murmur of VOICES may be heard from off L., 
growing steadily louder. Emil and JosiE speak in a con- 

[Act II, Scene 1] JO'S BOYS 61 

strained, unnatural manner, carefully avoiding each other's 

eyes. ) 
Emil. So you're to be a great actress some day. 
Josie. Yes, I am — the greatest in the world! 
Emil. Whew! You do aim high! 
Josie. (After a moment.) You're leaving Plumfield soon? 

Emil. Two or three weeks. Might as well. Everybody at old 
Plumfield is — well, interested in their own families and careers, and 
though they've all been generous and friendly to me, still there's 
nothing here that depends on me and that I feel really anchored to. 
Josie. Will you — will it be long until you're back again? 
Emil. That depends. A year or more, perhaps. Think the ici- 
cles might warm up a bit and melt by then, Josie? 

(He is winding the thread over his hands awkwardly. At 
his question she looks up, startled.) 
Josie. What — what do you mean, Emil? 

(Emil opens his mouth to answer, but there is suddenly the 
sound of many VOICES just outside, off L., as if the van 
had just deposited its passengers. Then Teddy is heard, 
shouting above the noise.) 
Teddy. (Off L.) Ladies and gentlemen! 
(The noise subsides.) 
It is with much regret that I inform you that the authoress, Mrs. 
Josephine Bhaer, is not visible today. 

(There is a babble of VOICES.) 
Voice. (Above din.) Why can't we see her? Where is she? 
Teddy. (Shouting above the noise.) She's gone, I tell you! 
Voices. Where's she gone? 
Teddy. (Still shouting.) To — to Oshkosh for a rest cure! 


Act II, Scene 2 

It is a week later, the night of the ball. There are bowls and vases 
of spring flowers about the room. Candles on the mantel- 
piece and piano are lighted and give a soft golden glow to 
the room. 

When the curtain rises, Demi is discovered pacing back and 
forth. He is in evening clothes, and his rebellious hair is 
plastered down flat, gleaming oilily. After a moment he 
stops suddenly, listens, then goes over to the arch U.L. and 
looks out. He turns back in disappointment. Just then the 
door U.C. opens; Demi again starts in anticipation, but is 
again disappointed when he sees that it is JOS IE. She has 
several roses in one hand and large shears in the other. 

Demi. Oh. It's you. 

Josie. Who did you think it was — the spirit of the merry 
month of May or the ghost of Yankee Doodle? What an affection- 
ate brother you are, Demijohn! There are countless ways you might 
have uttered that ejaculation. Now, for instance, gaily — "Oh, it's 

{She suits her tone and inflection to her description as she 
repeats Demi's words each time.) 
Or affectionately — "Oh, it's you!" Or in pain — "Oohh! It's you!" 
Or dramatically — "Oh! It's you!" Almost any way would have been 
better than your brotherly recognition of my entrance. 
(Demi enjoys her performance.) 
Demi. {Bowing in a courtly manner.) I beg forgiveness, 

Josie. It is granted — slave. 

{She sniffs in the direction of his bowed head.) 
Whatever is that horrible smell? 


(Act II, Scene 2] JO'S BOYS 63 

Demi. Horrible? Why, it's lilac! It's to make my hair lie flat. 
Aren't I handsome? 

Josie. Whomever could you have been expecting when it was 
only I? Surely not — not Nan. 

Demi. I thought perhaps — she did come here to dress for the 
ball, didn't she? I thought she might come downstairs a trifle early. 
To — to see about her medicine kit or something. 

Josie. Why don't you marry Nan, Demi? 

Demi. {Groaning.) Why don't I marry her! If only I could! 

Josie. Did you ever ask her? 

Demi. I try to, but she won't listen. She says she is never going 
to marry and cares only about her old pills and bottles. 

Josie. (Thoughtfully.) You might break a leg. She adores 
setting bones . . . though, to me, the black plague is much more 

Demi. Dear little sister! Always so kind and helpful. 

Josie. I'll be serious, Demi. I am fond of you and would like 
to help. I know that although Nan does scoff at romance and is 
very matter-of-fact and independent, really down in her heart she 
wants to be made love to. All girls do. You just haven't popped 
the question in the right way. 

Demi. Since you are so wise, could you give me a hint how 
to "pop the question," as you so elegantly put it? 

Josie. Oh, well, there are various ways, you know. In plays 
the lovers go down on their knees; but that's awkward when they 
have long legs. Ted never does it right, though I drill him for 
hours. You could say, "Be mine! Be mine!" like the old man who 
threw cucumbers over the wall to Mrs. Nickleby, if you want to be 
gay and easy. Or you could write a poetical pop. You have written 
them, I dare say. 

Demi. Seriously, Jo, I do love Nan, and she must know it by 
this time. But I lose my head every time I try to tell her so, and 

64 ROW-PETERSON PLAYS [Act II, Scene 2] 

make a fool of myself. I thought you might suggest some pretty 

way. You read so much poetry and are so romantic. 

Josie. Some new and brilliant way would appeal to Nan. 

(They are both silent a moment, deep in thought. JosiE 
sits on the sofa, chin in hand — with the shears sticking out 
in a precarious and ridiculous manner — her brow furrowed, 
her nose puckered. She surveys the room as if expecting to 
find a cue or even handwriting on the wall; her gaze comes 
eventually to the flowers in her hand. She jumps up in 

I've got it! Perfectly lovely! It will touch her and will just suit you, 

being a poet at heart. 

Demi. What is it? No ridiculous stunt, please. 

Josie. I read in one of Miss Edgeworth's stories about a man 
who offered three roses to his lady — a bud, a half -blown, and a full- 
blown rose. If she wore the bud it would mean she loved him a 
bit, if she wore the half -blown she would even become engaged to 
him, and if she wore the full-blown rose that meant she would 
marry him right away. I don't remember which one the lady in the 
story wore, but it's a romantic way, and Nan knows about it, for 
she was here when I read it to the girls. I picked these roses to wear 
in my hair, but you may have three of 'em — the three nicest ones. 
And I'll slip them up into the room where Nan is dressing. 

Demi. (After a moment's deliberation.) I'll do it. 

Josie. (Jumping up and holding the flowers out to him.) 
Then choose the three flowers — a tight bud, a half-blown, and a 
full-blown! I'll tie my hair-ribbon on them, even though it is a 
new one, and you write a note to go with 'em. 

(In selecting the bearers of his tender message, Demi for- 
gets that roses have thorns, and pricks his thumb.) 

Demi. (Laughing ruefully.) Ouch! This must be the right 
one for Nan; it's so like her. 

(He sucks his thumb.) 

[Act II, Scene 2] JO'S BOYS 65 

Josie. Give you another chance to claim her professional serv- 
ices, at least. Now, write the note. 

(JOSIE takes the three roses DEMI has chosen, and lays the 
others on the table. While she arranges the flowers and ties 
them with her hair-ribbon, Demi? goes to the desk U.K., 
finds pen and paper and, with much pondering, writes.} 
However in the world do boys manage to get along when they don't 
have sisters, I wonder. Want me to tell you what to write, too? 

Demi. Thanks, I'll compose my own epistle. 

(He finishes the note, folds it, and brings it to JOSIE, who 

now has the flowers tied with the ribbon.) 
I am trusting you, Jo. This means everything to me. No jokes, 
dear, if you love me. 

(Her quick light kiss on his cheek promises everything — or 

nothing. She sniffs at his hair again, puckering her nose; 

then, gathering up the remaining roses as well as the Cupid 

bouquet, she dances out of the room U.L. At the door she 

meets JO, who is coming in.) 

Jo. Better hurry and dress, Josie. The orchestra is already tun- 
ing up in the ballroom, and the guests will be arriving any time 

Josie. I'll be ready, Auntie. 

(She runs out and up the stairs, and Jo comes into the 

Demi. Good evening, Aunt Jo. 
Jo. Oh, hullo, Demi. 

(She crosses to the doors U.C. and starts to open them. 

Demi helps as soon as he realizes what she is about. The 

moon is shining, and the garden is dimly visible.) 
Diana is kind to us tonight. 

(Demi looks out at the moonlight and sighs deeply.) 
Maybe she will bring you good luck. 

66 ROW-PETERSON PLAYS [Act II, Scene 2] 

Demi. I don't think she likes me. 

(Jo laughs, not unkindly. The DOORBELL rings off L.) 
Jo. Gracious, there's someone now! I should have the front 
door open and be ready to receive my guests. 

(She hurries to the arch U.L. and exits. Demi paces about 
the room restlessly, fidgeting, stops at the piano and idly 
picks out, with one finger, the melody of the "Bridal 
Chorus." The door D.R. opens. It is DAN, a vivid fig- 
ure in a brightly colored Mexican costume with a bolero and 
serape. He stands there a moment before Demi becomes 
aware of his presence and stops his piano-strumming in 
embarrassment. ) 
Dan. Don't stop the music on my account, old fellow. 

(He comes on into the room and sits in the easy chair D.R.) 
Demi. Didn't know anyone was listening. I — I was just idling 
away the time till the ball begins. By jove, that's a dashing outfit 
you're wearing! Mexican? 

Dan. Yes, I didn't have a dress suit and wasn't coming down 
for the ball, but Aunt Jo and the girls insisted that I wear this, so 
I gave in . 

(The striking up of an ORCHESTRA in a waltz tune is 
heard off L.) 
Demi. There's the music! Guests must be in the ballroom. 
(Two or three figures are dimly seen strolling in the moon- 
lit garden, beyond the doors U.C. NAN is about to enter, 
but stops short upon seeing Demi and Dan.) 
Nan. Oh — excuse me, gentlemen! 

(And she disappears.) 
Demi. And me, also — will you, Dan? 

(He rushes out in pursuit of NAN. At the same time that 
NAN makes her provocative exit, a shadowy white figure 
appears in the garden and approaches the doorway U.C. It 
comes nearer, and the moonlight gleams on the golden hair 
of BESS. She calls softly.) 

[Act II, Scene 2] JO'S BOYS 67 

Bess. Dan. . . 

(He turns and looks as if he were seeing a vision; slowly he 
starts up from his chair and goes toward her, as she steps 
into the doorway.) 
Dan. Why, Princess — I — I thought you were a spirit. It's the 
moonlight, I guess. You don't look real. 

Bess. (Laughing softly.) I am, though. May I come in or am 
I disturbing your reverie? 
Dan. Of course, come in. 
(They move downstage.) 
Sit here, and I'll sit at your feet and look at you. 

(He speaks lightly now, and indicates the easy chair and 
hassock. ) 
Bess. You should be on the couch, and I should be playing 
your nurse. 

Dan. (Gaily, but with an undertone of seriousness.) Not 
now. You're the Princess, and I — I'm your knight. 

(He has led her to the chair and now seats himself on the 
hassock at her feet. ) 

Bess. Like Aslauga's knight in the story you asked me to read 
to you? I shouldn't have thought you'd care for that romantic tale, 
Dan. There is fighting in it, of course, but it is awfully sentimental. 

Dan. I know. But I've read so few stories, I like the simple 
ones best. Sometimes, when I've been wandering about the West, 
I've had nothing but that little book to read. I guess I know it all 
by heart, and never seem to tire of those fighting fellows and the 
fiends and angels and lovely ladies . . . and the spirit with the 
golden hair always reminded me of you. . . . 

(He suddenly leans forward. Intensely.) 
Princess — don't be afraid — there is a story I must tell you ... a 
true story. . . 

Bess. (Not understanding at all.) Why, of course, Dan. Your 
stories are always exciting and adventurous. 

68 ROW-PETERSON PLAYS [Act II, Scene 2] 

Dan. But this is a different story — one I've never told before. 
(He hesitates, seeing the innocence of her face; and before 
he can decide to speak, LAURIE and JO enter from U.L., 
laughing together in their old spirit of comraderie.) 

Bess. Oh, here's Father and Aunt Jo. 

(DAN rises, the light in his face gone as suddenly as if a 
curtain had been rung down before it.) 

Laurie. So — I've found my truant daughter! 

Bess. Yes, Papa. Dan was about to relate another of his ad- 
ventures in the great West; weren't you, Dan? 

(Young MEN and WOMEN are seen strolling in the 
garden, blithesome ghosts in the moonlight; strains of 
MUSIC float at intervals from the ballroom off L.) 

Jo. Your fond parent wishes to dance with you, so perhaps 
Dan will tell his story to me. 

Bess. Of course, Papa. I'd much rather dance with you than 
with anyone else — and with Dan next. 

( With a smile for DAN, she puts her hand on her father's 
arm, and they start out U.L. A COMMOTION is heard 
in the garden, and JOSIE, TEDDY, and several other 
BOYS and GIRLS crowd in through the doors U.C., 
chattering as they enter.) 

Teddy. (As he comes in.) Of course I could play the part; 
it's really very simple. All you need is a balcony and a sword. 

Josie. You'd muddle it, I know; but I do need practice. 

Laurie. I think we'd better go before we find ourselves in the 
midst of a civil war, Daughter. 

(And he and Bess exit, as Teddy calls.) 

Teddy. Better wait and see such a Romeo as there never was 
before! . . . Why, there's not even a balcony for you to fall down 
from, Jo! 

Josie. (As she quickly surveys the room and her eyes light on 
the sofa.) We'll turn the sofa around, and I'll kneel on it and 

[Act II, Scene 2] JO'S BOYS 69 

just make believe I'm standing. Here — lend a hand. 

(Teddy and one of the other boys quickly turn the sofa 
around so that the back is toward the audience. Jo has sat 
down in the easy chair, with DAN beside her on the hassock. 
The other GIRLS and BOYS are grouped about, giggling and 
exclaiming at the antics of the two young actors.) 

Now, I'm in my boudoir, and going out on the balcony. 

(JOSIE goes back of the sofa, and kneeling upon it, leaning 
her arms on its back, she gazes out upon the imaginary 
scene with an expression of wistful tenderness. After a mo- 
ment, she speaks dreamily.) 

"O Romeo! Romeo! Wherefore art thou, Romeo?" 

(Teddy is D.L., blandly watching Josie's performance. After 
a moment, the tender look on her face changes to one of 
annoyance as she turns to TEDDY. ) 

Now's your cue to come into the garden and see me! 
Teddy. {Blankly.) Now? 

Josie. Yes, now. See if you can catch it this time. 
{Again the wistful face and tones.) 

"Romeo! O Romeo! Wherefore art thou, Romeo?" 

(Teddy falls to his knees just U.R. of the table, and clasps 
his hands in an attitude of prayer. ) 
Teddy. Do I use Italian dialect? 

(Josie is exasperated; the others laugh.) 
Josie. No! Talk like Shakespeare! Come, Teddy, please! 

Teddy. But Romeo was Italian, wasn't he? So why shouldn't 
he talk like one? 

{He declaims in a pseudo-Italian dialect, with violent ges- 
tures. ) 

It eesa my lady, oh, it eesa my lahv! 
She spiks, yet notheeng she say. So w'at? 

Jo. {Putting her hands to her ears.) Teddy, stop! That's 

70 ROW-PETERSON PLAYS [Act II, Scene 2] 

(All except Josie are convulsed with laughter; poor JOSIE 
is too angry to speak for a moment. Teddy rises.) 
Teddy. Well, I just wanted to make it real. 

Josie. For the last time, Teddy, will you behave sensibly and 
play the part? 

Teddy. (With disarming contrition.) Yes, ma'am, I'll try. 
Do I come into the garden again? 

Josie. Yes, and suppose you start at the first of that scene this 

time. You know the lines: "He jests at scars " 

(Once more Teddy falls to his knees. He speaks the lines 
from Romeo and Juliet in a casual, monotonous manner 
which brings sighs from all. ) 

Teddy. "He jests at scars that never felt a wound. 

But soft! what light through yonder window breaks? 

It is the East and Juliet " 

Say, why not let me do Macbeth? Now, there's a man for you! 

(He scrambles to his feet and breaks out in thunderous 

tone. ) 

"Ring the alarum bell! Blow, wind! Come, wrack! 

At least we'll die with harness on our back!" 

(He finishes with a mighty blow on his chest, and then looks 

around for acclaim, a fatuous grin on his face. JOSIE, the 

poor Juliet, has given up in despair and hangs limply over 

the balustrade of her balcony; but the audience is roaring. 

OTHERS have come into the room through the doors 

U.C. and U.L., and some are standing just outside, listening. 

Among them is EMIL, who now comes to Josie.) 

Emil. (Plucking at her sleeve.) Don't you think Juliet should 
dance with me just once before she stabs herself? 

(It is evident that JOSIE has changed the role she plays for 
Emil; she is now the dangerous siren, looking up at him 
out of the corners of half-closed eyes, her lips puckered into 
what she hopes is a seductive pout.) 

[Act II, Scene 2] JO'S BOYS 71 

Josie. (In a husky, throaty voice, and with a pseudo-French 
accent.) It weel be a grreat pleasure, M'sieu — a grreat pleasure. 

(He offers his arm, and she puts her hand upon it. They 
cross to the arch U.L., and exit, JOSIE looking up at Emil 
soulfully and swaying languorously as she walks. Emil is 
torn between laughter and affection. Teddy has watched the 
transformation with gaping mouth. ) 

Teddy. (Pointing at Josie's departing figure.) Cleopatra, the 
temptress of the Nile! Poor Anthony! 

(Some of the Boys and Girls follow JOSIE and Emil, 
others wander outside through the doors U.C. The door 
D.L. opens and DEMI enters, in each hand a plate of cakes. 
He looks about the room, apparently searching for someone. 
Teddy turns and sees Demi and hastens toward him, hands 
outstretched. ) 

Teddy. Demi — for me? How thoughtful of you! 

Demi. (Holding the cake beyond his greedy reach.) Not so 
fast, my lad. More is to be had where this was procured — if you 
can subdue the dragon who guards the kitchen. Otherwise, you must 
wait until the refreshments are duly announced by the hostess. 

Jo. (Rising.) Perhaps I'd better look into that now. 

Teddy. I'll help you. . 

(She goes out D.L, with Teddy close behind. The Others, 
including DAN, wander off, talking together, either into the 
garden or through the arch U.L., across to the ballroom. 
Only Demi is left, in the center of the room, holding his two 
plates of cakes. Suddenly NAN hurries in from U.L. In 
his surprise and joy Demi almost drops the plates.) 
Nan. (Stopping abruptly when she sees him.) Someone told 

me you were in here dreadfully ill with acute colic! I might have 

known it was only one of your childish jokes. 

(She turns to go. Demi crosses to her, gesturing with the 
plates in his hands.) 

72 ROW-PETERSON PLAYS [Act II, Scene 2] 

Demi. Please don't go away, Nan. I am ill — awfully. You 
must stay and do something for me or I'll — I may die! One never 
knows, you know. Death comes very suddenly sometimes, and 


Nan. ( Grimly. ) What's your ailment? 

(Demi's jaw drops as he tries to remember.') 
Demi. {Lamely.) What — what's my ailment? Why, it's — 
it's — oh, I stuck a thorn in my finger! In my thumb, to be exact. 

I'll show you- 

{He holds out the plate, realizes what he is doing, and man- 
ages to put the plates on the table. NAN sits in the chair 
at L. of the table. ) 
Nan. Let me see it . 

(Demi drops to his knees beside her and extends his left 
hand. She sniffs the air, and grimaces.) 

Demi. See — there it is {He realizes that it is the thumb of 

the right hand which has the thorn in it, and quickly withdraws his 
left and extends the other. ) There! 

Nan. {With a wilting look.) Are you quite certain it isn't 
your foot? 

Demi. Oh, quite. I remember distinctly that it couldn't have 

been my foot, because at the time 

Nan. Keep still. Do you have a pocket knife? 

{He digs in his pocket and brings out a knife which he 
opens and gives to her. She takes up his right hand and be- 
gins to dig around in a manner painful to behold; but the 
patient's countenance reveals only fatuous bliss.) 
Am I hurting you? 

Demi. Not a bit. Dig away — I like it. 
Nan. I won't keep you long. 

Demi. Oh, there's no hurry. Never so happy as here. So — so 
nice and cozy, don't you think? 

{Quite unmoved by this tender remark, NAN fetches a pair 

[Act II, Scene 2} JO'S BOYS 73 

of large, round-eyed spectacles from her evening bag and 

puts them on.) 
NAN. Now I see it. Only a thorn. 

Demi. Yes, you see, I was gathering roses. To — put in the 
vases, you know. 

(He waves vaguely about the room, which is innocent of 

roses. ) 
Nan. I see. . . . There, it's out. 

(She rises abruptly, almost upsetting him, and holds out the 

knife. ) 

Demi. My hand is bleeding. Won't you bind it up? 

Nan. Nonsense. Suck it. Only take care of it tomorrow if 
you're fooling around inkpots. Don't want any more blood-poi- 

Demi. That was the only time you were ever kind to me — 
when I had blood-poisoning. Wish I'd lost my arm. 
(He takes the knife and puts it in his pocket.) 

Nan. I wish you'd lost your head; it smells like turpentine and 
kerosene. Do take a run in the garden and air it. 

(She turns away.) 

Demi. Now, Nan, wait a minute — I have something to say 
to you. 

(The door D.L. swings open, and TEDDY enters, munch- 
ing cake.) 

Teddy. Still shouting the battle cry of freedom, Nan? Up 
with the flag! I'll stand by and lend a hand if you need it. 

(He pops the last crumb of cake into his mouth and wipes 
his mouth with the back of his hand.) 

Nan. You're always a great comfort, Teddy, and I'll call on 
you in all emergencies. I like men who come out frankly and 
own they are not gods. See them sick, as I do, and then you know 

74 ROW-PETERSON PLAYS [Act II, Scene 2] 

Demi. Don't hit us when we are down. Be merciful and set 
us up to worship you forevermore. 

Nan. We'll be kind to you if you will be just to us. I went to 
a suffrage debate in the state legislature last week. And of all the 
silly, feeble, vulgar twaddle I ever heard, that was the worst! And 
those men were our representatives! I want an intelligent man to 
represent me if I can't do it myself, not a fool! 

(In the indignation which any reference to woman suffrage 
arouses in NAN, her voice has grown louder, and several 
BOYS and GIRLS have crowded into the doorway U.C., 
listening. Teddy turns and motions them to come in.) 
Teddy. Nan is on the stump! Come on in. We men must 
stand together, for we're in for it! 

(They enter, talking and laughing. DAN, EMIL, and 
JOS IE are among them.) 
Emil. Avast, avast, here's a squall to wind'ard! 

(They all laugh and talk at once. LAURIE and BESS 
enter U.L. Immediately the noise quiets, as it always does 
in the presence of "the Princess.") 
Laurie. What is the excitement? 

Teddy. Nan is on an independence-for-women rampage, and 
we men are to be tried for our lives. Will you preside at the bar of 
justice, Princess? 

Bess. I'm not wise enough. I'll sit here and listen. 

(And she sits in the chair at the L. of table, with her father 
standing back of her chair. Teddy places the footstool as a 
"stump," and urges NAN upon it. She grins good-naturedly 
and mounts. She still wears the spectacles.) 
Teddy. Here's a stump for you! Hop onto it. 
All. Speech! Speech! 

Teddy. (Pounding on the table.) Now, madam, free your 

Nan. I have only one thing to say: women were created free 

[Act II, Scene 2] JO'S BOYS 75 

and equal with men. {Applause.) And they have a right to vote, 
and also to be perfectly free and independent and live their own 

(All the Girls applaud. Demi groans.) 

I want to ask every boy and man here what you really think on this 
subject. Commodore, you first. Are you ready for the question? 

Emil. Aye, aye, skipper. 

Nan. Do you believe in woman's suffrage? 

Emil. Bless your pretty iigger-head, I do, and I'll ship a crew 
of girls any time you say so. Aren't they worse than a press-gang 
to carry a fellow out of his moorings? Don't we all need one as a 
pilot 'to steer us safe to port? And why shouldn't they share our 
mess afloat and ashore, since we are sure to be wrecked without 'em! 

Teddy. Good for you, Commodore! Nan will take you for 
first mate after that handsome speech! 

Nan. Now, Dan, you love liberty so well yourself, are you will- 
ing we should have it? 

Dan. All you can get, and I'll fight any man who's mean 
enough to say you don't deserve it! 

Nan. Demijohn Brooke, come into court and tell the truth, the 
whole truth, and nothing but the truth! 

Demi. (Facing her and solemnly raising his left hand.) I be- 
lieve in suffrage of all kinds, I adore all women, and will die for 
them at any moment if it will help the cause! 

(All applaud.) 

Teddy. Strike up the band! The enemy surrenders! Your 
scarf for a flag, madam. 

(He lifts the scarf from Nan's shoulders, and, as he does so, 
a rose falls from the folds where it has been concealed. NAN 
sees it, gives a shriek of dismay, and flies out the door U.C. 
Demi pounces upon the rose with joy.) 

76 ROW-PETERSON PLAYS [Act II, Scene 2] 

Demi. It's my rosebud! She loves me! 

(And he turns and follows Nan in hot pursuit. The others 

Act III 

It is a morning two weeks later. It is foggy and dark outside; gray- 
ing light filters through the drawn curtains at the windows 
and doors which open upon the garden. Gradually, how- 
ever, the fog clears and finally bright sunshine streams in 
from outside. 

Because it is so dim, a lamp is lighted on the desk U.R., 
where Jo is seated, writing. A moment after the curtain 
rises, there is a KNOCK off L., and almost immediately 
NAN enters U.L. Her medicine kit is in her hand. Jo rises 
to meet her.) 

Nan. 'Morning, Aunt Jo. 

Jo. Good morning, Nan. Muggy outside, isn't it? I hope you 
don't catch cold. 

Nan. Takes more than a little fog for a husky animal like me. 
I like it. 

Jo. Sit down, won't you? 

(She motions toward the sofa, and sits on one end of it 
herself. ) 

Nan. Thanks, but I haven't long — on my way to see a patient. 
(She has dropped her bag on the piano bench, but does not 
sit down.) 
Thought I'd drop in if you weren't too busy for a little chat. 
Jo. Never too busy for you, Nan. Something bothering you? 

Nan. (With a short, embarrassed laugh.) Well, rather. Sort 
of a mess I've got myself in. Hardly know how to get out, and 
thought you might lend a hand. 

(She perches on the arm of the chair R. of table.) 

Jo. You haven't gone and operated on someone who turned 
out to have measles, I hope! 



Nan. Nothing so bad as that — no. I suppose if I were the 
romantic sort, I'd say that this matter had to do with the heart. 

Jo. You mean yours? 

Nan. No. Haven't got any, I guess. At least it doesn't behave 
in such a way that it makes me aware I've got it. It thumps along 
steadily, supplying blood for my veins, but that's all. 

Jo. (Smiling.) And you want it to do more? 

Nan. That's the problem. I don't. But I was silly enough to 
make the mistake of thinking I did, and now I'm in a jam. Remem- 
ber the night of the Commencement ball? 

(She rises, aimlessly picks up a paper from the table, fidgets 
with it.) 

Jo. Of course. And you wore the rosebud Demi sent you? 

Nan. Yes, that's it. Somehow the ball went to my head for a 
little while, and with all the other girls excited over beaus and 
dances, I — well, I guess I sort of lost my real self for a while. And I 
wore Demi's rose, and then when it dropped from my scarf and he 
saw it, of course he thought it meant I cared for him. 

Jo. And you don't? 

Nan. Not the way he wants me to — not the way the rosebud 
meant. And I don't know what to do. I can't go on letting him 
believe what isn't true, but I hate terribly to hurt him. He really is 
a dear boy, and I shouldn't plague him as I do. 

(She walks restlessly over to the fireplace.) 

Jo. There is only one thing to do. Tell him the truth. It will 
sober him, perhaps, and help him to settle down as he needs to do. 

Nan. I never dreaded anything quite so much. Oh, why did I 
make such a stupid blunder? 

Jo. All of us are made the fools of our own impulses some- 
times, Nan. And perhaps this was really a prophecy of a lasting 
sentiment yet to come. 

Nan. No — not ever, Aunt Jo! I know that, without any doubt 
now. My whole life must go into my work. Helping people to 

[Act III} JOS BOYS 79 

get well is romance enough for me. And I know that in time Demi 
will meet and fall in love with some sweet girl who will need him 
and make him the sort of wife he deserves. I never could. 

Jo. Then the sooner you tell him that, the better, my dear. 
And you may have your opportunity this morning, for I expect 
Josie to stop in on her way to Amy's house, and Demi will likely 
accompany her. 

Nan. Josie is to interview that — that Miss Cameron — or what- 
ever her name is — the great actress, isn't she? 

Jo. Yes, her appointment is for ten o'clock; it's a quarter of 

Nan. There is another career woman for you — Josie. She will 

be a great actress some day, don't you think so? 

Jo. There is much in Josie's heart besides her desire to act. 
She hasn't your determination and self-reliance, Nan. 

Nan. Sometimes I almost wish I hadn't so much myself. Then 
again I wouldn't trade my profession for all the housewifely joys in 
the world! Why do you suppose I was such a silly fool that night at 
the ball? I haven't the courage to face Demi. 

Jo. (Laughing gently.) Allow yourself some of the normal 
weaknesses of the feminine nature, my dear. And when Demi comes 
and you talk with him, tell him in your usual straightforward man- 
ner. He will respect you and admire you all the more for it. And 
perhaps you will be able to find a joy in comradeship which you 
have never had before. 

Nan. I hope so — truly I do. 

(There is a KNOCK off L) 
Jo. That must be Josie now. 

Nan. If Demi is with her, send him to the study, please, Aunt 
Jo. I'll wait there. 

(She exits D.R. Josie's voice is heard calling "Aunt Jo!" 
and then the door U.L. opens before Jo can reach it. JOSIE 


is there, and just behind her in the hallway, MEG and 
Jo. Good morning. Why, good morning, Meg. It is damp for 
you to be about so early. 

Meg. (As she removes the clothing she mentions.) I wore my 
rubbers and a cape over my shoulders. Summer fogs aren't very 
dangerous, anyway. 

(Demi hangs the cape on the rack in the hall for her, and 
they move on into the room. Josie has already entered.) 
Josie. She was really too excited to stay at home, Aunt Jo — 
though of course she won't admit it. 
Jo. Come, sit down, Meg. 

(She leads Meg to the couch, and they both sit.) 
Nan is in the study, Demi. I think she'd like to have a little con- 
sultation with you. 

Demi. (His face brightening.) She would? Say — that's jolly! 
She — I mean, that's jolly, isn't it? 
Jo. Then run along. 

(He goes toward door D.R.) 
Josie. Wish me luck, Demi. 

Demi. (Turning back to her.) You know I do, little sister. 
As wonderful luck as seems to be coming my way at last — but I 
still think you'll be happier in a kitchen than on the stage! 

(He pinches her cheek mischievously, then exits D.R.) 
Jo. Aren't you due for your interview with Miss Cameron in a 
few minutes, Josie? 

Josie. Yes — I must go, in a minute. Mother thought up an 
excuse to come this far. I forget what it was now, but it was pretty 

Meg. Don't listen to the child. I wanted to look through that 
old trunk of Marmee's which you have in your attic, to find a quilt 
pattern she used to have. I don't have it, so I'm sure it must be 
You'd better hurry along. It's only five minutes. 

[Act III] JOS BOYS 81 

Jo. Perhaps it is, Meg. You may look. But stay here and get 
your breath first. 

(JOSIE walks about, unable to keep still. Meg takes from 
her bag the sewing she always has handy.) 
Josie. What do you suppose she will say, Aunt Jo? Did you 
think I was very bad last night? 

Jo. Why, it seemed to me that the play went very well except, 
of course, for the balcony's tumbling down on Romeo's head. 

( They laugh at the memory. ) 
We were afraid for a moment that he and Juliet had met an even 
more untimely death than Shakespeare intended. 

Josie. {Ruefully.) I have a bruise or two to remind me. 

Jo. Has it been decided what is to happen in the event Char- 
lotte Cameron gives a favorable opinion of your talents? 

Josie. Mother has promised that 

Meg. Now, don't overstate my promise, Josie. I only said that, 
in that case, I would consider your going on the stage. I didn't say I 
would approve. 

Josie. But if you really considered it, you would be bound to 
see that that was the only thing left for me to do. If I really have 
talent, I mean. 

Meg. I still believe, and shall always believe, that a woman's 
place is in the home, and that she finds her greatest talents in being 
a good wife and mother. 

Josie. (Resolutely, but with a catch in her voice.) I shall 
never marry! I shall never fall in love — not ever! 

Meg. (Smiling complacently.) That is what you think now. 
But when you grow up 

Josie. (In anguished tones.) Mother! 

Jo. (Looking at the watch she wears pinned on her bosom.) 


Josie. Oh, dear, I mustn't be late. 

(She rushes out U.L.) 
Meg. (Calling after her quickly.) Put your rubbers back on, 
Josie, and take your umbrella. It may rain. 

Josie. (From the hallway.) All right, Mother, but I hate 

Jo. So do I. And it really isn't going to rain, Meg. 

Meg. Sh! She's trouble enough without encouraging her rebel- 
lious nature. 

(JOSIE appears in the doorway, rubbers on, umbrella in 

hand. ) 

Josie. I'll wager I look like an actress! Well, wish me luck. 

Jo. (Rising to go across to her, and offering her hand in a 
hearty manner.) Here's luck, Josie — a world of it — no matter 
which way the tide turns. 

Josie. (Giving her a quick, searching look, and speaking in a 
low, earnest voice.) You — you do know, even without my telling 
you, don't you, Aunt Jo? And understand? 

Jo. I think I do. 

Josie. Bless you! Good-bye, Mother. 

Meg. Good-bye, dear. And — and good luck. 

(Josie runs across the room and kisses her mother lightly 

on the cheek.) 

Josie. Bless you, too — you dear. Be back soon as it's over. 

(And she is gone, through the arch U.L. There is the sound 
of the outside DOOR, off L., closing after her.) 

Meg. If Charlotte Cameron encourages her to go on the stage, 
I shall have to consent, I suppose. Though I should hate to give up 
a daughter of mine to a life so full of hardships and temptations. 
I don't know why Josie couldn't have been satisfied to wait until 
some nice boy comes along, and settle down. 

[Act III] JO'S BOYS 83 

Jo. She may have more of the housewifely virtues and longings 
than you suspect, Meg. 

(She resumes her seat beside Meg.) 

Meg. Well, I hope so. Children are such a problem, though I 
don't know what I should do without them. 

Jo. If I had more than one like Teddy, I don't know what I'd 
do with 'em. Although my adopted boys and girls have brought me 
just as many problems as if they were my own, I suppose. Still, I 
love them dearly, and want them to feel free to come to me with 
their troubles and their ambitions and dreams. 

Meg. Are both Dan and Emil planning to leave soon? 

Jo. Yes, within a few days. I've been lying in wait for them 
here this morning. I want to have a good talk with each one before 
he leaves. I am expecting Dan back any minute now. He went for 
one of his long tramps in the woods this morning. 

Meg. In spite of his rough ways, Dan is a good boy, Jo. It's 
too bad he is going back into that wild country in the West. A little 
polish would make a gentleman of him. 

Jo. It wouldn't be safe, Meg. Work and the free life he loves 
will make a good man of him, and that is better than any amount of 
polish with the dangers an easy life in the city would bring him. 
We can't change his nature — only help it to develop in the right 

(There is the sound of FOOTSTEPS off L.) 
That must be Dan now. 

Meg. I'll go up to the attic and give you your chance. 
(As she rises, DAN appears in the arch U.L.) 
Good morning, Dan. It's a wet morning to be walking. 

Dan. I like it. Feels good to have the fog against your face. 
'Morning, Mother Jo. 

Jo. Hullo, my boy. Leave your wet jacket and come in for a 

Meg. I'm going upstairs to look for that pattern, Jo. 


Jo. Very well. I'll help search if you don't find it. 

(Meg goes out U.L., and up the stairs. Dan has taken off 
his wet mackintosh and has run a pocket comb through his 
hair. Now he comes into the room, stopping L. of the table.) 
You need a rest after your long tramp; you must be tired. 
Dan. But won't I disturb you? 

Jo. Nonsense! I'm always ready to talk; shouldn't be a woman 
if I were not. (Rising.) Sit down. {After a step or two toward 
door D.L.) We'll combine business with pleasure. Mary will be 
pleased if I pare the apples for the pies she's going to make. (On 
way to kitchen.) Be right back. 

(She goes off D.L. Dan sits in the chair back of the table. 
Almost immediately he appears lost in thought, and, draw- 
ing out a small pendant which he wears on a heavy silver 
chain concealed about his neck, he opens it and gazes at its 
contents earnestly and longingly. JO'S returning step 
causes him to close the case quickly and slip it back into its 
hiding place. She reenters, carrying one empty pan and one 
filled with apples. She comes down to sit at the R. of the 
table. ) 
Getting restless again, Dan? 

(She drops the apples from one pan to the other as she 
pares them.) 

Dan. Maybe a little. Yet somehow I'm not so anxious to cut 
loose as usual. 

Jo. (Smiling.) You are beginning to get civilized. It's a good 
sign, and I'm glad to see it. You've had your swing and want a 
change. Hope the farming will give it to you, though helping the 
Indians pleases me more. It is so much better to work for others 
than for one's self alone. 

Dan. You're right. And I seem to want to root somewhere 
and have folks of my own to take care of. Guess I'm tired of my 
own company, now I've seen so much better. I'm a rough, ignorant 


lot, and I've been thinking maybe I've missed something, loafing 
around creation. Maybe I should have gone in for education as the 
other chaps did, huh? 

Jo. No, I don't think so in your case. So far, I'm sure the free 
life was best. Time is taming my wild colt, and I shall be proud of 
him, whether he makes a pack-horse of himself to carry food to the 
starving, or goes to ploughing as Pegasus did. 

Dan. Glad you think so. The fact is, it's going to take a heap 
of taming to make me go well in harness anywhere. I want to, and 
I try now and then, but always I kick over the traces and run away. 
Lately, here at Plumfield, I've felt more content than ever before — 
so maybe you'll finally tame me, ma'am. 

Jo. Dan. . . 

Dan. {After a moment's silence.) Yes? 

Jo. There is something I feel I must tell you before you go 
away . . . though it's hard. 

{His eyes, their honest gaze straight upon her face, do not 
make it easier for her to speak.) 
One day, while you were ill, I was watching beside your bed. You 
moved in your sleep, and that little case you wear on a chain around 
your neck — it fell out from your clothing and came open. I closed 
it and put it back, but . . . 

Dan. {Quietly.) You saw the picture? 

Jo. Yes. 

Dan. And know what a fool I am? 

Jo. Oh, my boy, I am so grieved. 

Dan. Don't worry about me. I'm all right. Glad you know, 
though I never meant to tell you. 
{He looks away from her.) 
Of course it is only a crazy fancy of mine, and nothing can ever 
come of it. Never thought there would. Good Lord! What could 
the Princess ever be to me but what she is — a sort of dream that's 
sweet and good? 


Jo. It is very hard, dear, but there is no other way to look at 
it. You are wise and brave enough to see that, and to let the secret 
be ours alone. 

Dan. I swear I will! It was almost too much for me once — 
the night of the ball, when she came in from the garden, looking 
like a kind of spirit in the moonlight, and called my name. . . . But 
I was saved from telling her then, and I swear that there will never 
be another look nor word. 

Jo. (Anxiously.) She didn't guess, then? 

Dan. Oh, no; her face was innocent as an angel's. No one 
guesses, and if it troubles no one, is there any harm in my keeping 
this {indicating the case) and taking comfort in the pretty fancy 
that's kept me straight in the wild country out there? 

Jo. Keep the picture, and tell me about the "fancy." Since I 
have stumbled on your secret, let me know how it came and how I 
can make it lighter to bear. 

Dan. It happened out there in the wilderness. . . 

(He rises and paces back and forth as he talks.) 
So many times I didn't see another human soul for days, and lying 
under the stars at night, somehow they seemed to turn into her shin- 
ing hair . . . and then I wasn't so lonesome. . . . Then, other times, 
when I was in a wild prospectin' town and was tempted to gamble 
and carouse with the other fellows, I'd take out the little picture, and 

her eyes would be looking so straight and honest at me I guess 

I sound like a fool, but those thoughts and things helped me through; 
they are all solemn true to me, and I can't let them go. The dear, 
shiny head, the white gown, the eyes like stars, and the sweet calm 
ways that set her as high above me as the moon in heaven. 

(He grips the back of the chair and looks earnestly into Jo's 

eyes. ) 
Don't ask me to give it up! It's only a fancy, but a man must love 
something, and it's better for me to love a spirit like her than any 
of the poor common girls who would care for me. 

[Act III] JO'S BOYS 87 

Jo. (After a moment's silence.) Yes, Dan, it is wise to keep 
this innocent fancy, if it helps and comforts you, until something 
more real and possible comes to make you happier. I wish I could 
give you a little hope, but . . . you and I both know that there isn't 
any. We both know the place Bess has in the hearts of her father 
and mother, and that the most perfect lover they can find will 
hardly seem to them worthy of their precious daughter. Let her re- 
main for you the high, bright star that leads you upward and makes 
you believe in heaven. 

(The sag of Dan's shoulders reveals the hope he had cher- 
ished in spite of himself and which is now gone. He smiles 
wearily and his voice is tired when he speaks. ) 

Dan. You are right. I've known that all along, but I guess I 
sort of let my imagination get the best of me. . . . Anyway, there's 
nothing for me now but to clear out. The sooner, the better. Back 
to the Indians and sheep-herders and prospectors, and to the other 
bums like me. That's where I belong. 

(There is no self-pity in his voice; only a dull realization of 
what he must forever be denied. ) 

Jo. (Rising quickly to place both hands on his shoulders and 
to turn him toward her.) Remember, dear, if the sweet girl is for- 
bidden you, the old friend is always here to love and trust and pray 
for you. 

(His arm goes about her shoulders in a quick embrace.) 

Dan. I can never forget that, for she's been like a real mother 
to me — God bless her! 

Jo. And keep you, my boy. 

Dan. I'm going upstairs to pack my things. You will say good- 
bye to all of them for me, won't you? I'd rather not have any — 
any fuss made over going. 

Jo. Of course, if that is the way you want it to be. 
(MEG appears in the archway U.L.) 


Meg. Excuse me, Jo, dear, I simply cannot open that old trunk 
in the attic. I pulled and pried, but it won't budge. 

Dan. I'll open it. I'm on my way upstairs anyway. 

(And ivithout looking back, he strides out and up the 
stairs. ) 

Meg. (Calling after him.) Oh, thank you, Dan! (Then to 
Jo.) Did you give him his lecture, Jo? I didn't like to interrupt, 
but I was so tired from tugging at that trunk, and I do want that 

Jo. It's quite all right. Dan and I had finished our little con- 

Meg. He has grown to be quite a handsome man, hasn't he? 
I shouldn't wonder if lots of girls have admired him, in spite of 
his crude ways. It's odd he hasn't got himself married, isn't it? 

Jo. Yes. . . I suppose it is. 

Meg. Oh, well, of course there is plenty of time yet. ... I 
wonder what Nan had to say to Demi that takes so long. They are 
still in the study, aren't they? 

Jo. Yes, they haven't come out yet. 

(PROFESSOR BHAER enters from U.L., having come 
downstairs. ) 

Professor. Ah, good morning, Sister Meg. 

Meg. Good morning, Fritz. 

Professor. (Going toivard the desk U.R.) Iss the morning 
paper here, mein lieb? I did not read it at breakfast today. 

Jo. It is there, on the desk, dear. 

Meg. Demi wrote one of the editorials in this morning's paper 
— something against women and children having to work in the 
factories. It's there, Fritz, on the middle page. 

(But the Professor's eye has already fallen on one of the 
despised stories.) 

Professor. Ach, here it iss again! This very day I go to 

[Act III] JO'S BOYS 89 

the editor and tell him no longer to send his paper to this house! 
"The Revenge of Dora the Dairy Maid" — ach, such trash! 

Meg. (Meekly.) I — I read one of those stories once, Fritz, and 
thought it had a good moral. 

Professor. (Scarcely hearing her.) Perhaps Demi might talk 
with the editor and persuade him not to publish more of these — 

these "The Revenge of Dora the " Ach! 

Meg. I'll speak to him of it, Fritz. 

(There is the sound of the outer DOOR off L. being 
opened, then EMIL sticks his head in the door U.L.) 
Emil. Ahoy, me hearties! 

Jo. It's a wet morning for a landlubber such as you've got to 
be, Admiral. 

(He is taking off his mackintosh and cap and hanging them 
on the hall rack. ) 
Emil. But it's clearing fast and will be fair sailing in an hour. 
(And indeed a brighter light is streaming through the win- 
doivs and door U.C. than at the first of the scene.) 
Jo. It is lighter. We don't need the lamp now. 

(She bloivs out the lamp on the desk, and pushes back the 
curtains at the windows to let in the light.) 
Emil. (Now coming into the room.) Top o' the morning, 
Aunt Meg. 'Morning, Uncle. 
Meg. Good morning, Emil. 

Professor. Good morning, Nephew. I am glad thou hast 
come, for I haf been vishing to talk vith thee. 

Jo. So have I. Poor lad, you're in for it! But we can't let our 

boys go away without a last heart-to-heart talk. Come, Meg, we 

shall go up and find that pattern, and leave these two men together. 

(She rumples the Professor's hair affectionately, and she 

and Meg go out U.L. and up the stairs.) 

Professor. Veil, my boy, soon thou vilt be leaving us again? 
Let us sit down. 


(He sits in the easy chair R. Emil turns the chair R. of 
table around and sits astride it, resting his arms on the 
back. ) 
Emil. Expect to leave port in a couple of days, sir. 
Professor Ve shall be sorry to haf thee go. Thy Aunt Jo and 
I, ve are proud of all our boys. But it makes our hearts to ache vhen 
they go away from Plumfield. 

Emil. A few weeks here, and I'm almost a landlubber myself, 

Professor. This long voyage vill gif thee new experiences and, 
being now an officer, thou vilt haf new duties and responsibilities. 
Power iss a dangerous thing, my boy. Be careful that thou dost not 
abuse it or let it make a tyrant of thee. 

Emil. Right you are, sir. I've seen plenty of that, and have 
got my bearings pretty well, I guess. 

Professor. There iss a book I vant to gif thee, Emil, to take 
and read often. It iss on the shelf there (indicating the shelf above 
the desk U.R.) — the poems of Schiller which I myself translated 
into English. Take it; it iss thine to keep. 

(Emil goes to the bookshelf to find the book.) 
It is thine in memory of thy mother, my dear sister. In it thou wilt 
find much beauty and much understanding of the ways of men. 

(He is interrupted by the opening of the door U.C. to 
admit JOS IE and BESS. The skies have cleared so that 
the opened door lets in pale sunlight now. Josie's cape is 
across her arm, and she carries her rubbers and umbrella. 
Disappointment is written across her face and in the droop 
of her shoulders. Bess follows her silently.) 

Josie. (In a small, dismal voice.) Oh — good morning, Uncle. 

Bess. (With her usual graciousness.) Good morning, Uncle 

Professor. (Rising.) Good morning, my dear young nieces. 
You haf been out early in the garden. 

[Act III] JOS BOYS 91 

(Josie has gone half way across the room toward the door 
U.L. without seeing Emil, who now turns from the book- 
Emil. Josie — have you been to see Miss Cameron? What did 
she say? 

(Josie starts at the sound of his voice. Immediately she 
straightens up and assumes a role of gaiety, too gay for com- 
plete conviction, in fact.) 
Josie. Oh, hello, Emil. I didn't see you there. Yes, I have 
been to see Miss Cameron, and she told me — she told me that I was 
the — the most wonderful ingenue she had ever seen on the stage! 
She said it would be a great loss to the American theatre if I neg- 
lected my talent, and that I must join her company for their tour of 
the South and West. She won't take no for an answer! 

(Bess is obviously dumbfounded at this report of the inter- 
view, but remains silent, gazing at JOSIE in bewilderment.) 
Emil. {Trying to be congratulatory, but not succeeding very 
well.) Why — why, that's splendid — perfectly splendid! Congratu- 
lations! By the time I heave in port again you'll be a famous 

Josie. (A catch in her throat.) When — when will that be? 
Emil. A year, perhaps. Maybe more. 

Josie. By then I'll be — 111 be the greatest actress in all the 
world — greater even than Charlotte Cameron or — or Bernhardt or 

(Half-crying, half-laughing, Josie runs from the room and 
upstairs. JO and DAN have come downstairs just before 
Josie's last speech, stopping in the hallway for a moment. 
They may be seen, talking quietly, as DAN sets down his 
shabby rawhide satchel. They turn as JOSIE runs past them, 
then come on into the room. The others are looking after 
her in bewilderment.) 
Professor. The child iss too much upset. It iss not good for 


(Bess has seen Dan's bag in the hall and notices the bat- 
tered hat in his hand She speaks in a voice which causes 
Dan's face to light up for an instant, but no longer; for 
pain dims the light, and he turns so that no one may see the 
truth in his eyes.) 
Bess. Why, Dan — -are you going away? 

Dan. {Trying to speak jovially.) Yes, Princess. The old wan- 
derlust, you know. Time to shove along to start that farm. Been 
an invalid long enough for a roughneck like me. Thanks for play- 
ing nurse. 

{Without looking at her, he crosses to PROFESSOR BHAER 
and holds out his hand.) 
Good-bye, Professor. 

Professor. Good-bye, my son. May the Lord bless thee and 
keep thee safe. 

Dan. Thank you, sir. So long, Emil. 

Emil. {Gripping his hand.) So long, old fellow. Good luck. 

Dan. {Crossing to where Bess is waiting, near the door U.L., 
and taking both her hands in his.) Good-bye, Princess. If we — if 
we never meet again, remember your old friend Dan sometimes, 
won't you? 

Bess. {Warmly.) How can I help it, when you make us all 
so proud of you? God bless your mission and bring you safely back 
home to us! 

{She looks at him with such frank affection and regret that 
he cannot resist the impulse to take her "dear goldy head" 
between his hands and kiss it; then, with a broken "Good- 
bye" he hurries abruptly out of the room. Jo follows, put- 
ting a hand on his arm. He may be seen in the hallway as he 
picks up his bag, gives Jo a quick kiss on the cheek and is 
gone. The others have stood silent, looking after him. There 
is a puzzled expression on Bess's face, as if she had felt in 
Dan's kiss and good-bye something heretofore unknown. 

[Act III] JOS BOYS 93 

Jo, quickly returning, sees the troubled look on the girl's 

face. ) 

Jo. Forgive him, Bess. He — he has had a great trouble, which 

you know nothing of, and it makes him tender at parting with old 

friends. For you know he may never come back from the wild world 

he is going to. 

Bess. (Innocently.) You mean the accident at the mine? 
Jo. No. dear. A greater trouble than that. But I cannot tell 
you any more — except that he has come through it bravely, so you 
may trust and respect him, as I do. 

Bess. (Slowly.) Oh. You mean that he has lost someone 
he loved. Poor Dan. We must always be very kind to him. 
Jo. Yes, my dear. Very kind. 

Bess. (As if seeking to escape from the strange emotion she 
has felt. ) I — I think I must go now. Mother will be expecting me. 

(She turns to go out U.C. Jo goes with her.) 
She will be sorry Dan has gone. 
Jo. Good-bye, dear. 
Bess. Good-bye. 

(And she slips out U.C. Jo turns back into the room. 

Professor Bhaer and Emil have been looking for the 

Schiller, but now turn D.R., Emil with the book in his 

hand. The Professor resumes his place in the easy chair. 

Emil now motions toward the sofa as he speaks to Jo.) 

Emil. Come aboard and make yourself at home, Auntie. Uncle 

Fritz and I were getting along toward a good chat when — when 

Josie came in, and then Dan. 

(Jo takes the place he indicates, and he sits beside her.) 
Jo. It will be lonesome without you, Commodore. I'm sorry 
you're leaving us. 

Emil. Well, you don't pipe your eye and look squally when I 
sheer off as you used to, and that's a comfort. I like to leave port 
in fair weather and have a jolly send-off all round. 'Specially 


this time, for it will be a year or more before we drop anchor here 

Jo. You have salt water enough without my adding to it. I'm 
getting to be quite a Spartan mother and send my boys to battle 
with no wailing, only the command, "With your shield or on it." 

Professor. I vas telling Emil how proud ve are of him, and 
how great iss the responsibility now he iss an officer. 

Emil. I shan't have a very wide swing, with Peters over me, 
but I'll see that the boys don't get abused when he's bowsed up 
his jib. 

Jo. That sounds mysteriously awful. Might one inquire what 
nautical torture "bowsing jibs" is? 

Emil. Getting drunk. Peters can hold more grog than any 
other man I ever saw. He keeps right side up, but is as savage as 
a norther and makes things lively all round. I've seen him knock a 
fellow down with a belaying pin, and couldn't lay a hand. Better 
luck now, I hope. 

Professor. Thou hast proved thyself a good sailor; now be a 
good officer, which iss a harder task. 

Emil. I'll do my best. I know my time for skrim-shander is 
over, and I must steer a straighter course. But don't you fear — 
Jack ashore is a very different craft from what he is with blue water 
under his keel. 

(TEDDY enters from U.L.) 

Teddy. Ran into Dan down the street. Didn't know he was 
hitting the trail so soon. 

Jo. I'm glad you saw him, dear. He hated to leave without say- 
ing good-bye, but left messages with me. 

Teddy. Wish I were going with him out West. . . . Father, 
Professor Jenkins wants some sort of papers you were preparing 
for him. Asked me to bring 'em back over to the college right 

Professor. Ah, yes. I should haf sent them already. I think — 

[Act III} JO'S BOYS 95 

yes, on the desk in the upstairs study I left them. Wouldst thou 
fetch them for me, my son? 

Teddy. Of course, Father. 

(As he starts out U.L., he runs into JOSIE.) 
Oh, hollo, Juliet! When do you make your debut? 

Josie. Let me by. 

(JOSIE slips past him into the room. He goes on up- 
stairs. Josie crosses to the C. of the room. Her hair is tum- 
bled and it is evident that she has been weeping. Her words 
rush out all on one breath. ) 
It wasn't true what I said — I made it all up! She said I was a good 
amateur, but I didn't have any real talent, and I'd better forget 
about going on the stage and — and learn to keep house. 

(She finishes in a plaintive wail, and with a sob rushes out 
U.C. into the garden. Emil has listened to her confession 
with an amazement which turns to joy. ) 

Emil. Josie! Josie, you little idiot — wait for me! 

(And he follows her, unaware of the smiles which Jo and 
the Professor exchange.) 

Professor. Emil likes the little tomboy, yes? 

Jo. They have been in love with each other for some time, but 
have talked at cross-purposes. I was sure it would all work out hap- 
pily for them by and by. 

(TEDDY reenters U.L., with a sheaf of papers which he 
takes to the PROFESSOR.) 

Teddy. Here are the papers, Father. Where did Josie vanish 

to? And Emil? Say, Mother, they aren't 

(The Professor has adjusted his spectacles to look over 
the papers which Teddy has given him. He frowns in per- 
plexity, looks more closely.) 

Professor. (Interrupting Teddy.) Vhat iss this, Ted? Mein 
Gott, from vhere did this come? "The Revenge of Dora " 


Jo. (Springing up.) Teddy! What have you done? That isn't 
the right paper! 

Professor. (Rising.) Vhat iss the meaning of this, Josephine? 
This iss the story in the newspaper. Vhy — vhat iss it doing here, 
in manuscript, like this? 

Jo. (Very quietly.) I wrote the story, Fritz. I wrote all of 

(She turns and walks away from him.) 

Professor. Jo — vhat does this mean? 

Teddy. Mother! Were you — was it you Julie Thorpe's father 
was talking about — who wrote the stories for money to — to pay doc- 
tor bills? Mother — are you ill? 

Professor. (Going to Jo and turning her about to face him.) 
Jo, vhat does this mean? Vhat haf I done to thee, heart's dearest? 

Jo. It is nothing to worry about, truly it isn't. The doctors did 
find something rather seriously wrong with my heart, and insisted I 
must have a special kind of treatment and consultations with spec- 
ialists. There wasn't enough money, so — I dashed off those silly 
stories in my spare time, and paid the bills. Now I am practically 
well . . . and this was to be the last story. I'm sorry, Fritz. I know 
how terribly disappointed in me you must be. 

Professor. (In anguished tones.) My dearest, do not say 
such things! Vhat a brute I haf been — how deeply I haf wounded 
thee! Nefer can I forgif myself. 

(He turns away D.R., shaken by his discovery.) 

Teddy. But, Mother — are you — are you really and truly better 

Jo. Much, much better. All the doctors say that there is no 
further danger, and nothing for anyone to be troubled about. 

Teddy. What a lot of selfish beasts we have been! 

Jo. (Patting his shoulder comfortingly.) Of course you haven't 
been any such thing. There was no need to worry you. And now it 
is all past. 


{Through the doors U.C. come EMIL and JOSIE, hand 
in hand and beaming blissfully upon each other and the 
world. ) 
Teddy. {Turning and staring at them.) Jo! 
Josie. Where's mother, Aunt Jo? 
Jo. She's still upstairs. 
Teddy. Josie — listen! 

Josie. {Crossing toward U.L. to call toward the stairs — Emil 
still holding fast to her hand.) Mother! Mother — come down — 

Teddy. {Beseechingly.) Josie, you can't desert your old pal. 
Think of all we've been through together! 

Meg. {Off L., as she descends the stairs.) Josie — Josie, what 

did she say? Did she 

{As MEG appears in the archway U. L., Josie runs to her 
and seizes her.) 
Did she — did she say you must go on the stage? 

Josie. Oh, no, Mother, she said Oh, Mother, I'm going to 

be married! 

(Meg is bewildered. Emil steps up to her.) 

Emil. And so am I, ma'am! Isn't that a jolly state of affairs? 

Meg. You Why, whatever 

Teddy. Isn't it dreadful? They're in love. 

Emil. With each other. 

Josie. Isn't it wonderful! 

{She and Emil have Meg between them now, each with an 
arm about her. She is still bewildered, but pleased.) 

Meg. I — I can't quite believe it t but it's perfectly splendid. 
{The door opens D.R., and NAN and DEMI enter, paus- 
ing to stare at the trio across the room.) 

Demi. What is this? A part in a new play? 


Teddy. Love conquers all — and don't tell me that you two are 
also in the cast! 

{Attention is now centered on NAN and Demi, D.R.) 
Demi. No — we've learned about something better. From now 
on, you may observe a perfect friendship, guaranteed never to shrink 
nor wear out! Right . . . friend? 
{He turns to NAN.) 
Nan. Right! 

{They smile into each other's eyes. The others are ob- 
viously pleased at this turn of affairs. Jo and the PROFESSOR 
have sat down on the couch, and the PROFESSOR is tenderly 
holding both her hands in his own. Teddy hovers back of 
them. ) 
Teddy. Well, that's jolly! I'm glad some of us are still sane. 
{Noticing the lover-like pose of Jo and the PROFESSOR.) 
Why, here's another awful flirtation on the sly! 

{Again the center of attention is shifted, this time to Jo and 
Professor Bhaer.) 
Jo. May joy like this be ours forever! 



LTHOUGH, as the title implies, the story of this play is con- 
cerned with the lives and problems of Jo's boys — her own 
and those she has taken under her wing — as Miss Johnson has 
adapted her material, there is not a preponderance of men charac- 
ters in the play, and, in fact, the parts are well balanced between 
men and women. This means, of course, that you will find no parti- 
cular casting problem worthy of the name in connection with 
Jo's Boys. 

Since sincerity and simplicity are the keynotes of the story, it 
it is not necessary to strive for sophistication in any sense of the 
word, either in characterization, costumes, or setting. 


Although a hallway U.L. is desirable, as indicated in the stage 
diagram, it is not necessary; and if the director prefers, such stage 
business as takes place in the hallway may be brought into the room, 
with very little change. 



Inasmuch as the style of Victorian furniture is revived from time 
to time, there are always a sufficient number of pieces to be found in 
every locality to provide the necessary atmosphere. 


The same is true of costumes. Costumes for the period of 1881 
will be found in any number of attic trunks, and in some com- 
munities the production of a period play of any kind is the signal 
to unearth all old dresses and suits of any period and align them 
for a style show. 

However, if costumes are not forthcoming in this way, you will 
see in the costume illustrations that the styles of the present lend 
themselves to alteration sufficiently to suggest the period. An extra 
flounce here or there, a few gathers or folds achieved by merely 
raising the skirt on one side and fastening with a few tackings of 
thread, and all this over an extra layer of petticoats gives the de- 
sired effect. 

The costumes illustrated here are merely to suggest the style. 
Other characters in the play will, of course, be dressed in similar 
mode, varying in plainness or decoration as the character or scene 

Nan, for example, will wear plainer dresses than Bess, or even 
Josie. Amy, who has always liked elegance, will wear more fashion- 
able and rich-looking clothes than either Meg or Jo. The designs 
in the illustration need not be followed exactly, if other styles of 
the period are available. 


For those who may wish to make more of a study of the charac- 
ters in the play, ample background material will be found in the 

original story of Little Women and of Jo's Boys. 



Professor Bhaer 

Hand Properties 

Act I 

On Stage 

darning basket containing socks, thread, etc. (Jo) 

embroidery (Meg) 

drawing board, paper, and pencil (Amy) 

two plump, long, folded manuscripts (Jo, from desk U. R.) 

Brought On 

copy of Romeo and Juliet (Teddy, from U.L.) 

large leather medicine kit containing pills, pad of paper, and 
pencil, etc. (Nan, from U. L.) 

trays with tea service (Jo and Teddy, from D. L.) 

newspaper (Demi, from U. L.) 

various bundles containing a string of coral beads for Josie, a 
dainty necklace for Bess, an inkstand in the shape of a bear 
for Jo, a lace cap for Meg, a small picture in a gilt frame 
for Amy, and a pair of skull-shaped earrings for Nan (Teddy, 
Emil and Josie, from U. L.) 

telegram (Teddy, from U. L.) 

glass of water (Demi, from D. L.) 

Act II, Scene 1 
On Stage 

breakfast service (on table D. L.) 
newspaper (Professor, on table D. L.) 
stack of mail (Jo, on table D. L.) 
darning basket (Jo, on desk U. R.) 

Brought On 

brief case and books (Professor, from D. R.) 
feather duster (Teddy, from D. L.) 


drawing of Jo (Esmeralda, from D. R.) 
cane (Dan, from U. L.) 
blanket (Bess, from U. L.) 
medicine kit (Nan, from U. L.) 

ACT II, Scene 2 
On Stage 

pen and paper (Demi, on desk U. R.) 
pocket knife (Demi, in suit pocket) 

Brought On 

roses and shears (Josie, from U.C.) 

hair ribbon (Josie, from U. C) 

two plates with cake (Demi, from D. L.) 

evening bag containing large bone spectacles (Nan, from U. L.) 

rose in scarf (Nan, from U. L.) 

Act III 
On Stage 

watch (Jo, pinned to dress) 

morning paper (Professor, on desk U. R.) 

copy of Schiller translation (Professor, in book shelf U. R.) 

Brought On 

medicine kit (Nan, from U. L.) 

sewing in sewing bag (Meg, from U. L.) 

rubbers, umbrella, and rain cape (Josie, from U. L.) 

pocket comb (Dan, from U. L.) 

pan of apples, empty pan and paring knife (Jo, from D. L.) 

pendant locket on chain (Dan, from U. L.) 

rain cape, rubbers, and umbrella (Josie, from U. C) 

shabby rawhide satchel, battered hat (Dan, from U. L.) 

sheaf of manuscript papers (Teddy, from U. L.) 

Da'-e Due 



3 1262 05562 7409 


By Dorothy Rood Stewart 

5 M. 7 W. for main cast. 
3 M. 6 W. as extras. 

BOOKS, 7S Cents 

One of the best come- 
dies of family life in 
recent years. 

Royalty on request. 


By Kathryn Prather 

8 M. 7 W. Good opportunity 
for extra girls. 

BOOKS, 75 Cents. 

A decided hit throughout 
the nation. 

Royalty on request. 


Evcmston, Illinois 


"And Laughter Holding Both His Sides" 

SECOND FIDDLE, by Guernsey Le Pelley 

It is remarkable how much trouble a fellow can get into when 
he allows himself to be persuaded into staging a wedding re- 
hearsal — with someone besides the bride-to-be. It looked inno- 
cent enough, for the officiating gentleman was none other than Wilbur, 
the butler. But, by a quirk of the state law, the marriage was legal! 
What happens after that makes Second Fiddle one of the most-enjoyed 
and most-played farces in the business. 3 M. 6 W. Books, 75 cents. 
Percentage royalty. 

by H. Stuart Cottman and LeVergne Shaw 

The authors of Submerged, the world-renowned short play, have 
contrived in The Cuckoo's Nest one of the prize joy carnivals 
of recent years. . . . The Gragwells— like the cuckoo — find them- 
selves a nest and move right in. Of course, it was a complete accident. 
They were merely taking refuge from an irate taxi driver when it 
happened, and having no money to pay the fare — no money to go any- 
where- — when they find a furnished" house, vacant and for rent . . . well, 
why not accept the momentary good fortune? We said, "momentary." 
It's really a swell farce. 6 M. 5 W. Price, 75 cents. Percentage royalty. 

BEGINNER'S LUCK, by Glenn Hughes 

Four leaves from the Falls City Four-Leaf Clover Club — the 
leaves being four personable young ladies— go to Greenwich 
Village determined to make names for themselves in the field 
in which each thinks she has talent. But the girls have not figured on 
the mysterious Mr. X., nor on his ability to interest a famous opera 
star, an art critic, a literary agent, and a theatrical director in the 
talents of four struggling young artists. What people can blunder into 
with just beginner's luck! 7 M. 8 W. Price, 75 cents. Percentage royalty. 

by Guernsey Le Pelley 

Tom and Gary Blake are just wondering what new excuse to 
offer the belligerent landlady, when Lawyer Carter appears 
with the startling news that the boys are the recipients of an 
inheritance from an eccentric uncle. Tom's share is $50,000, and Gary's 
share is Charlie, whom they recall as the uncle's faithful sheep dog. 
Gary thinks Tom has all the luck. But when Charlie turns out to be a 
beautiful young lady with considerable charm and fortune, Tom thinks 
Gary has all the luck. . . . Dizzy complications arise — they'd have to, 
with such people in the offing as Ducky Lucky Larson and her prize* 
fighter brother, Billikins . . . and Mrs. Greengas, a nervous boarder 
. . . and Mrs. Pinkie, employed by the Bruce Home for Feeble Minded. 
Le Pelley at his best. 6 M. 7 W. Price 75 cents. Percentage royalty. 

Order from Row, Peterson and Company. Evanston, Illinois; or 131 E. 23rd Si, 
New York 10, N. Y.; or 1233 South Hope Street, Los Angeles 15, California.